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Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed by Senate as the next Supreme Court Justice

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

In a 53-47 vote, the Senate confirmed Kentaji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman and the first former public defender to serve on the Supreme Court, on April 7. Jackson will reportedly be sworn in after Justice Stephen Breyer retires in the summer.

Only three Republicans joined Democrats in their vote in favor of Jackson– Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Jackson’s historic confirmation comes after last month’s four day confirmation hearing in which she was questioned for hours over the course of two days following the first day’s opening statement, and ended with character testimonies from friends and former colleagues. 

During Jackson’s two days of questioning, the GOP’s attempts to have Jackson comment on subjects outside of her judicial career made headlines and, in some cases, went viral. Sen. Ted Cruz most notably asked Jackson her opinion on a children’s book about anti-racism.

Jackson was also questioned about a previous 2013 child pornography case she presided over and imposed a sentence below the sentencing guidelines. Republicans utilized the opportunity to accuse Jackson of being soft on crime, particularly on pedophiles. 

In response to this, Jackson stated that she took these cases, “very seriously as a mother, as someone who as a judge, has to review the actual evidence in these cases, and based on Congress’s requirement, take into account not only the sentencing guidelines…..but also things like the stories of the victims….the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant.”

Conversely, Senator Cory Booker delivered a passionate speech during the hearings in which he praised Jackson’s plight leading up to her confirmation, and compared her to the historic Harriet Tubman for being a “harbinger of hope.”

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Although Jackson’s nomination is not expected to change the political leanings of the Supreme Court as it currently stands, being the first Black woman to hold the position is a historic feat in itself.

Copy edited by Jasper Smith

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