Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed to the Supreme Court


Scot Scoop News

The historic Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson marks a breakthrough for more diverse representation.

Ethan Roitman, Staff Writer

The United States Senate voted to confirm Kentaji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on April 7th, 2022. The voting stayed primarily within party lines (53-47), with the exception of three Republican senators: Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. President Joe Biden’s nomination of Kentaji Brown Jackson comes after Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement announcement at age 83 after 27 years of service to the court. Kentaji Brown Jackson currently serves on Washington D.C.’s Appellate Court, and will be sworn in after Justice Breyer officially retires sometime this summer.

When officially sworn in, Ketanji Brown Jackson will become the first ever Black woman to become a Supreme Court Justice. Jackson will also make history as the first Supreme Court Justice with experience as a public defender, though her qualifications for the position go far beyond this experience. Jackson is a Harvard law graduate who has worked as a Supreme Court clerk, for the very Justice she is replacing, as well as a federal appeals judge. This confirmation also delivers on one of President Biden’s campaign commitments, which was to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, at a time where the United States is confronted with a multitude of challenges both domestic and abroad (including the Ukrainian-Russian conflict and inflation).

Jackson’s hearing also served as a reminder that the Senate, and by extension Congress, has become excessively partisan, and hopes for any improvement have become seemingly moot. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham perfectly outlined on Twitter the Senate’s remarkable ineptitude to remain impartial: “They destroy conservative judges and expect us to just clap and vote ‘Yes.’ That’s ridiculous, dangerous, and it’s not going to happen.” During the hearing, liberal senators praised Jackson while conservative senators bombarded her on the basis of her judicial philosophy, her refusal to denounce the expansion of the Supreme Court, her record in child exploitation cases, and Democrats’ past treatment of conservative judicial nominees in general. 

Some conservative senators did, however, chose to evaluate the Supreme Court candidate based on merit and qualifications rather than political alignment. Romney (R-UT), one of the three Republican senators who broke party lines, wrote in a statement on Twitter that he has “concluded that [Jackson] is a well-qualified jurist and a person of honor.” Romney also mentioned, “[I do] not expect to agree with every decision that she may make on the Court, I believe that she more than meets the standard of excellence and integrity.” 

While historic in nature, her confirmation will not shift the ideological balance of the court, as Jackson will replace Breyer in the liberal camp. Even with her confirmation, the Court will remain conservative minded, having six conservative Justices and three liberal Justices. 

Ahead of the vote, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said, “this is a wonderful day, a joyous day and an inspiring day, for the Senate, for the Supreme Court and for the United States of America.”