Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

Katie Jahnz, Lion's Roar Staff

 

     In keeping his campaign promise to appoint a woman of color to the U.S. Supreme Court, President Joseph Biden chose Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat after he retires this summer. Jackson served as a United States District Judge as well the Vice Chair and Commissioner on the United States Sentencing Commission. Because of her extensive background and experience both on and off the bench, the president decided that she would be the best fit for the soon to be vacant position. In keeping with the process, President Biden forwarded his nomination to the U.S. Senate where they confirm or deny presidential nominations to the bench.

     On Monday March 20, confirmation hearings for Jackson meant long days and many questions from lawmakers in front of her. Judge Jackson made her opening statement and the interview process proceeded. From there the committee that approved Jackson sent her off to the Senate for a final vote. On April 7, Jackson was confirmed with 53 yeas and 47 nays. 

     With a split Senate, three senators “crossed party lines” to support her appointment, making Jackson the first Black woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In the 231-year history of the Supreme Court, less than 5.3% of justices have been women or minorities.  Of the 114 appointments made, 108 were white men.  Five were women.  Justice Jackson will be the sixth woman to serve and the fourth person of color.

     Vice President Kamala Harris took to Instagram to congratulate Jackson. Being the first Black woman elected vice president, Harris has an understanding of what this meant and the step forward it brings to the nation. 

    At the confirmation hearing, Vice President Harris said, “Let this remind us what is possible when progress is made. The journey towards our more perfect union will always be worth it.” 

     Conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court bench currently outweigh their more liberal colleagues. With Justice Jackson replacing the like-minded Justice Breyer, the court will still stand with six conservatives and three liberal justices.

     Jackson will be sworn in as an associate justice this summer after Justice Stephen Breyer retires, making history in the Supreme Court.