The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Senate Television via AP

Forty seven Republican senators voted against approving Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

The U.S. Senate voted 53 -- 47 Thursday to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. Over nearly unanimous Republican opposition, Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the high court in its 232 -- year history.

Just three Senate Republicans — Maine's Susan Collins, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, and Utah's Mitt Romney — joined with every one of their Democratic colleagues in support of Jackson's confirmation. On Monday, 47 Republican senators opposed even allowing Jackson's nomination to come to a vote on the Senate floor after the evenly divided Judiciary Committee split along party lines.

In February, President Joe Biden named Jackson to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, keeping his 2020 campaign promise to appoint a Black woman to the most powerful court in the country. Biden highlighted Jackson's impressive record as a federal appellate court judge for the District of Columbia, a former public defender, and a former Supreme Court clerk for Breyer.

Jackson has promised to be an impartial and fair arbiter on the court. "I decide cases from a neutral posture," she told the Senate. "I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath."

Jackson was unanimously recommended as "well qualified" for the post by the American Bar Association, the highest rating from the nonpartisan group of lawyers that is praised by Republican and Democratic senators alike as the "gold standard."

The American public also strongly backed Jackson's confirmation, with polls showing her as one of the most popular Supreme Court picks in modern times, with the support of two -- thirds of those polled.

Despite Jackson's eminent qualifications for the role, Senate Republicans went on the attack and spent weeks trying to block her confirmation.

First, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized her for having gotten her law degree at Harvard Law School, although he had previously backed other nominees from the same school.

Then Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley began making widely debunked claims that "Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker" and that she had demonstrated an "alarming trend of lenient sentencing."

Finally, GOP senators resorted to what they had previously called "embarrassing antics" at Jackson's confirmation hearings, demanding she weigh in on policy questions that are up to Congress to decide.

Though Jackson has now been confirmed, she will not join the Supreme Court immediately. Breyer's resignation goes into effect at the end of the current term, meaning she will likely be sworn in late June or early July.

She will be just the sixth female and third Black Supreme Court justice in U.S. history.

Biden tweeted a photo of himself with the newly confirmed justice on Thursday, writing, "Judge Jackson's confirmation was a historic moment for our nation. We've taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}