Politics

Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed To Supreme Court


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has been confirmed to ascend to the highest court in the land. As a result, Jackson officially made history as the first Black woman to become a Supreme Court justice.

The U.S. Senate voted 53-47 on Thursday, April 7, to confirm Jackson, with three Republican senators joining all Seante Democrats in Jackson’s favor. She won’t be sworn in until Justice Stephen Breyer retires, which is slated to be sometime this summer, according to a CNN report.

Jackson watched the Senate vote with President Joe Biden from the White House. Images of she and Biden holding hands and hugging in front of a television screen displaying her confirmation vote are circulating online.

“On this vote, the yeas are 53, the nays are 47 and this nomination is confirmed,” Vice President Kamala Harris said before the Senate floor broke out in applause.

Many Republican senators walked out at that point, yet the three who crossed party lines and voted for Jackson – Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – remained.

“This is one of the great moments in American history,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “Today we are taking a giant, bold and important step in fulfilling our country’s founding promise.”

Jackson’s confirmation does fulfill a promise – one made by Biden during his campaign to appoint a Black woman to the SCOTUS if a vacancy became available.

The Miami-raised Jackson was an early frontrunner due to her extensive legal experience and impressive career trajectory.

She faced days of contentious confirmation hearings with attacks from Republicans ranging from accusations that she was soft on crime and lenient on child sexual offenders to having a secret agenda and being a proponent of Critical Race Theory (CRT).

The latter of which has not been confirmed or denied, nor has anything to do with her ability to do job – something Jackson noted during the confirmation hearings.

“It [CRT] doesn’t come up in my work as it’s never something that I have studied or relied on, and it wouldn’t be something that I would rely on if I was on the Supreme Court,” Jackson said when asked about CRT.

Some of the aforementioned accusations from Republicans have been debunked by experts. One article in the New York Times described Jackson’s opinions during her time on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit as “diligent and exceptionally thorough, exhibiting a sure command of both the facts before her and the relevant legal materials.”

Vanderbilt University law professor Tracey E. George cautioned against defining a judge’s political leanings based on their decisions in court. “The idea that you could look to those things to determine if someone is liberal or conservative — that’s just not been my experience,” George told the Times.

There was also a narrative floating around that Jackson voted against Black workers in one of her cases, but a Washington Post op-ed written by Harvard University Professor Kenneth W, Mack and former Judge Andre M. Davis says “it’s not so simple.”

According to Mack and Davis, Jackson’s ruling was likely “protecting one group of Black Lockheed employees from having their interests sacrificed for those of another group of Black employees.”

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She ruled “that the proposed settlement was not fair, reasonable and adequate because many Black employees would be abandoning potential discrimination claims without knowing what they were giving up and what monetary compensation or other relief they were likely to get in return,” Mack and Davis wrote.

“Every one of Lockheed’s Black employees would have had to give up all rights to sue the company for any kind of past discrimination to obtain a settlement in this one particular case, which challenged one particular employment practice of the company. Jackson believed that trade-off was unfair,” the duo continued.

Whether one agrees with Jackson’s judicial decisions or not, no one has questioned her qualifications to be a Supreme Court justice.

On Twitter, some people celebrated Jackson’s confirmation. Others were more skeptical about whether or not she’d make a positive impact.

Jackson, Biden and Harris are slated to make remarks tomorrow.

PHOTO: Ketanji Brown testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on pending judicial nominations, April 28, 2021 on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/Pool via AP, File)  





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