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Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed as first black female High Court judge

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Thursday, breaking a historic barrier by securing his place as the first black female justice and giving President Joe Biden bipartisan approval for his efforts to diversify the court.

Jackson, a 51-year-old appeals court judge with nine years experience on the federal bench, was confirmed 53-47, mostly along party lines but with three Republican votes. The chair was Vice President Kamala Harris, also the first black woman to achieve this high office.

Jackson will take his seat when Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer, solidifying the liberal wing of the court dominated by the 6-3 conservatives. She joined Biden at the White House to watch the vote, embracing as it came.

During four days of Senate hearings last month, Jackson spoke about his parents’ struggles with racial segregation and said his “path was clearer” than theirs as a black American after the laws were enacted. on civil rights. She attended Harvard University, served as a public defender, worked in a private law firm, and was appointed as a member of the US Sentencing Commission.

She told senators she would enforce the law “without fear or favour” and pushed back against Republican attempts to portray her as too soft on the criminals she had convicted.

Jackson will only be the third black judge, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, and the sixth woman. She will join three other women, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan Amy Coney Barrett – meaning four of the nine judges will be women for the first time in history.

His eventual elevation to the court will be a respite for Democrats who fought three bruising battles against former President Donald Trump’s nominees and saw Republicans cement a conservative majority in Trump’s final days with Coney’s confirmation. Barrett. While Jackson won’t shift the balance, she will ensure a legacy on the court for Biden and fulfill his 2020 campaign pledge to appoint the first black female judge.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the vote that Jackson’s confirmation would be a “joyful day — happy for the Senate, happy for the Supreme Court, happy for America.”

Despite efforts to tarnish her record, Jackson ultimately won three GOP votes. The final tally was a far cry from the overwhelming bipartisan confirmations for Breyer and other justices in decades past, but it was still a significant bipartisan achievement for Biden in the 50-50 split Senate after GOP senators worked so hard. aggressive in portraying Jackson as too liberal and soft on crime.

Statements of the senses. Susan Collins from Maine, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Mitt Romney from Utah all said the same thing – they may not always agree with Jackson, but they found her extremely well qualified for the job. . Collins and Murkowski both denounced increasingly partisan confirmation fights, which only worsened during battles over Trump’s three picks. Collins said the process was “broken” and Murkowski called it “corrosive” and “more detached from reality with each passing year.”

Biden, a veteran of a more bipartisan Senate, said from the day of Breyer’s retirement announcement in January that he wanted bipartisan support for his landmark nominee, and he invited Republicans to the House Blanche as he made his decision. It was an attempt to reset Trump’s presidency, when Democrats vehemently opposed all three candidates, and the end of President Barack Obama’s, when Republicans blocked candidate Merrick Garland from taking office. get a vote.

Once sworn in, Jackson will be the second-youngest member of the tribunal after Barrett, 50. She will join a court on which no one is yet 75, the first time this has happened in nearly 30 years.

Jackson’s first term will be marked by cases involving race, both in college admissions and voting rights. She has pledged not to participate in the court’s review of Harvard’s admissions program since she is a member of its board of supervisors. But the court could split a second case involving a challenge to the University of North Carolina’s admissions process, which could allow it to rule on the issue.

Republicans have spent confirmation hearings questioning her sentencing record, including the sentences she handed down in child pornography cases, which they say were too light. Jackson said “nothing could be further from the truth” and explained his reasoning in detail. Democrats said she was in line with other justices in her rulings.

GOP questioning in the Judiciary Committee, however, showed the view of many Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said in a floor speech Wednesday that Jackson “didn’t never been hard once in this area”.

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