The first black woman on the Supreme Court – The Banner Newspaper

Weeks after Biden’s nomination, the nation officially hails Jackson as the 116and Justice.

By: Yasmine Abdeldayem

Reuters | President Biden and Judge Jackson rejoice in the Roosevelt Room as confirmation unfolds on screen.

On April 7, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the Supreme Court, making her the first black woman in US history to join the ranks of the High Court.

A vote of 53 to 47 in the Senate propelled confirmation of Judge Jackson. 50 votes were cast by the entire Democratic caucus.

Only three Republican senators gave their support to the judicial candidate at the time of the vote: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah.

Although Vice President Kamala Harris would have served as the deciding vote in favor of Judge Jackson, officials like Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois had always hoped to see a bipartisan vote for this momentous occasion.

The lack of Republican support is no surprise. Since Judge Jackson’s hearings began on March 21, the GOP has gone to great lengths to portray her as a radical left-wing activist who sympathizes with criminals rather than victims.

On the third day of hearings, Senator Ted Cruz used his ten-minute opening statement to discuss children’s books on a reading list at a private school attended by one of Judge Jackson’s daughters.

He then asked if she believed that “babies are racist” and, continuing his specific series of hypotheses, if he could reasonably sue Harvard if he “decided [he] was an Asian man.

Senator Josh Hawley had also led interrogations regarding Judge Jackson’s decisions in child pornography cases, rooted in concerns that the sentences handed down to criminals in seven cases discussed were too lenient.

That sentiment was echoed by Senators Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz – all of whom had previously voted in favor of judges who also handed down sentences lower than the prosecutor’s recommendations.

Judge Jackson also reiterated that she sent these perpetrators to jail. Graham accused her of not believing the crime at issue was “a bad thing” – a scathing statement that, like many others in the open court, Jackson dismissed with calm grace.

Amid repeated attempts to derail the nomination, there were lingering reminders of who Judge Jackson is and the broad credentials she carries.

After graduating from Harvard University and Harvard Law School, Jackson launched her legal career with three internships, including one with Judge Stephen G. Breyer, whom she will replace when she retires this summer.

Nominated by former President Obama, she served as a District Court Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021.

Obama had also appointed Judge Jackson as vice chairman of the US Sentencing Commission in 2009. Within the Commission, Jackson’s work centered on the crucial goal of maintaining a fair and proportionate pattern among federal sentencing.

Since 2021, she has served as a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Judge Jackson will also be the first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court.

Cheers and a standing ovation followed from the Democratic side of the Senate when Harris announced that Judge Jackson had been confirmed. Many Republicans came out amid the celebration.

Meanwhile, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jackson watched the voting results unfold alongside President Joe Biden.

As the affirmative answer to the question the nation has been clinging to for weeks was finally given on screen, Jackson flashed a tearful smile and kissed President Biden.

Of the 115 justices who served on the Supreme Court, 108 were white men. Like the 116and justice, Jackson will be the first black woman on the Court, the third black judge since the appointment of Clarence Thomas in 1991 and the sixth woman overall.

“I stand on the shoulders of so many who have come before me, including Judge Constance Baker Motley, who was the first African-American woman to be appointed to the federal bench,” Jackson said during her hearing. of confirmation. “And like Justice Motley, I have dedicated my career to ensuring that the words etched on the facade of the Supreme Court building, equal justice under the law, are a reality and not just an ideal.”