Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed to the Supreme Court

By: Gracie King | Feature Editor | mhk1724@jagmail.southalabama.edu 

Photo credit: CNBC

After her confirmation hearing, Ketanji Brown Jackson has been officially confirmed to be America’s first black female Supreme Court Justice. At the end of the court’s term this summer, Jackson will be sworn in, filling Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat.  

According to CNN, the final count of the confirmation vote yielded 53 yeas, three of which were from Republican senate members: Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. There were 47 nays. 

While the court will remain right-leaning after Jackson is sworn in, the presence of a Black woman in the highest court of the land is a diversity and equality milestone. 

The vote took place Thursday afternoon on April 7, after two weeks of her confirmation hearing. Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, delayed the vote for an estimated 30 minutes. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) voted from the cloakroom for apparent dress code violations and were later joined by Paul. According to The Week, it is not known why Paul was late to the vote as his office has not yet been reached for comment. 

Before being nominated, Jackson’s career began in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts as a law clerk for judge Patti B. Saris. From 2005 to 2007, she served as a federal public defender for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In 2009 President Obama nominated Jackson to serve on the United States Sentencing Commission, then later on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. 

Jackson’s path to the Supreme Court became clear when President Biden vowed to nominate a black woman during his presidential campaign. After Justice Breyers announced his retirement, President Biden held to his word and began compiling his list of SCOTUS picks. 

While Jackson faced her fair share of backlash from House Republicans for being nominated due to her ethnicity, her career and supporters speak for themselves.