The U.S. Senate has voted to confirm the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. She becomes the first Black woman and only the third Black person to ever sit on the highest court in America.
Jackson is also the first former public defender to joint the Court. Her confirmation fills a gap left after Justice Thurgood Marshall retired in 1991, bringing the perspective of someone who has done indigent defense back to the bench.
Jackson will join Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan on the liberal side, replacing Justice Stephen Breyer, who will be retiring from the Court this summer. The 51-year-old also becomes the second-youngest member of the Court, behind Justice Amy Coney Barrett who is 50.
Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney were the only three Senate Republicans who voted to confirm Judge Jackson. All three senators made it clear that they don’t always agree with Jackson’s ideas but said she was extremely qualified, which outweighed the differences in beliefs.
Earlier in the week, the three Republican Senators joined their Democratic counterparts in advancing Jackson’s nomination. After a deadlock vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a vote by the full Senate was necessary to move the process forward. The vote was 53-47 to close Jackson’s nomination and move to the final confirmation vote.
Jackson was confirmed Thursday by the same margin. The bipartisan, but narrow win means four of the nine justices are now women.
But the rest of the GOP senators used the nomination hearing as an opportunity to discredit Jackson, as well as push their racist conservative agendas.
Jackson’s nomination has been supported by a wide range of individuals and groups — from civil rights and legal organizations to the law enforcement community, including the Fraternal Order of Police and International Association of Chiefs of Police; to conservative and Republican legal and judicial voices, including retired Judges Thomas Griffith, Michael Luttig, David Levi (who endorsed Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh); to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. And, her presentation in the hearing was praised by the Wall Street Journal editorial board.
The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave Jackson a unanimous rating of “well-qualified.” According to the ABA, the rating is based solely on a nominees competence, judicial temperament and integrity.
Jackson stayed steadfast throughout the hearing, touting her record and experience as her most important and relevant attributes.
“I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously,” Jackson said during the hearing. “I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath.”
Below we take a look at the moment President Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, to the moment of her confirmation, and everything in between.
Biden Nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson
Before the close of Black History Month, President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson in an effort to make her the first Black woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jackson was selected to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, for whom she served as a law clerk, years ago. She also would be “the first justice in decades with any significant experience representing criminal defendants.”
Jackson’s experience was unquestionable. She was on former President Barack Obama‘s shortlist to replace Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia when he died in 2016. She was also nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Obama back in 2012. In addition to her valuable experience on the bench, Jackson previously worked as a federal public defender and was a U.S. Sentencing Commission member.
Tucker Carlson Wanted To See Ketanji Brown Jackson’s LSAT Scores
After the U.S. Senate received President Joe Biden’s nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, conservatives immediately began their smear campaign.
Fox News Host Tucker Carlson demanded to see Jackson’s Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score because he doesn’t believe a Black woman could possibly be “one of our nation’s top legal minds.”
“Biden went on to mention someone called Ketanji Brown Jackson,” Carlson said on his nightly show. “That’s not a name most Americans know because Ketanji Brown Jackson has been an appellate judge for less than a year. But Joe Biden assured us she is, quote, ‘one of our top legal minds.’”
Republicans Attack Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Service As A Public Defender
On day one of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson‘s Supreme Court confirmation, republican senators attacked her character and qualifications.
Sens. Marsha Blackburn and John Cornyn spent part of their statements positioning Jackson as someone who worked opposite the law instead of upholding it. Blackburn insinuated that Jackson would go easy on allegedly violent criminals because of her background, echoing a ridiculous claim by Sen. Josh Hawley about Jackson and supporting “cop killers” and “child predators.”
Cornyn all but called Jackson, a terrorist sympathizer by claiming her representation of those detained at Guantanamo Bay. Jackson would not be the first lawyer to advocate for people having due process rights. Detainees previously were determined to have some rights to pursue grievances in U.S. Courts. Last year, the American Bar Association filed an amicus brief arguing that some due process rights are available to detainees.
GOP Use Jackson’s Confirmation Hearing To Push CRT Misinformation
While the confirmation hearing continued, the GOP took the opportunity to push false information on critical race theory. The official GOP account tweeted a GIF with an image of Jackson and her initials KBJ being crossed out and replaced by the letters CRT for critical race theory.
Continuing its ongoing disinformation campaign around CRT, tying a Black woman federal judge to the GOP’s distortion of the legal theory is made even more evident in a rapid response document, “Important Questions for KBJ.”
That document cites another claiming critical race theory is “heading to the Supreme Court” by Biden nominating Jackson. GOP misinformation is less about Jackson and more about sowing discord ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.
Republican Senators Disgrace Judge Jackson’s Confirmation Process by Repeating Disinformation
At several points during the more than 12-hour confirmation hearing, Republican senators pushed an agenda clearly outside the scope of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson‘s professional background and judicial experience. Sen. Josh Hawley was stuck on the previously debunked claim that Jackson is not only “soft on crime” but favorable toward sex offenders, including child pornographers.
During several points of the hearing, notably in Jackson’s exchanges with Sens. Tom Cotton and John Kennedy, the judge repeatedly declined to engage in hypotheticals about policy matters not suitable for a Justice to discuss. Cotton kept asking questions based on generalizations and out-of-context data points concerning crime and policing, questions that have nothing to do with Jackson and everything to do with scoring points with the November electorate.
During her exchange with Cotton, Jackson had to remind him that Congress, not the Supreme Court or other federal judges, was responsible for the issues in question. Also, questions like should we have more police are for local communities and their residents to decide, not a judge.
GOP Use ‘Candace Owens Variant’ As Prop To Denounce CRT And Ketanji Brown Jackson
Republican senators use Black woman Keisha Russell to discredit critical race theory and Judge Jackson during her confirmation. Russell is Associate Counsel with First Liberty Institute, which focuses on “religious liberty matters and First Amendment rights,” according to the organization’s website.
But during the hearing, Russell had different focuses—CRT and Black justices who can’t do their jobs correctly because somehow being Black in America their entire lives has brought them to the conclusion that *gasp* racism is still a problem for Black people.
The Race-Baiting Parallels Between Ketanji Brown Jackson And Thurgood Marshall
U.S. Sen. James Eastland posed a question to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Thurgood Marshall during his August 1967 confirmation hearings.
“Are you prejudiced against white people in the South?”
Eastland, a known white supremacist, could not be clearer in conveying his fears about Marshall and race.
Fifty-five years after Marshall’s hearings, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn asked a similar question of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on March 22, 2022, during Jackson’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings.
“You have praised the 1619 Project, which argues the U.S. is a fundamentally racist country, and you have made clear that you believe judges must consider critical race theory when deciding how to sentence criminal defendants,” Blackburn said. “Is it your personal hidden agenda to incorporate critical race theory into the legal system?”
Blackburn’s questions, when fact-checked, proved to be as inaccurate as they were inflammatory. However, Blackburn – and other Republican senators – injected race-baiting into Jackson’s confirmation hearings.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson One Step Closer To Confirmation
After Jackson’s nomination “deadlocked” in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats moved for a vote to discharge her nomination from the committee and to a full confirmation vote. It passed 53-47, setting the stage for Jackson’s confirmation later in the week. Senate Democrats were joined by Republican Sens. Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins.
In a statement emailed to NewsOne, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) spokesperson Freedom Alexander Murphy challenged a “ridiculous double standard” being applied to Jackson.
“Senate Republicans admit that if they held the majority, the first Black woman and one of the most qualified people nominated to serve on the Supreme Court would not even have received a hearing,” Murphy said. “The stakes for protecting and expanding our Democratic Senate majority with the power to confirm Supreme Court justices could not be more clear.”
Sen. Tom Cotton Says Judge Jackson Would’ve Defended Nuremberg Nazis
Toward the end of Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearing, GOP Senator Tom Cotton stood his long-neck-head-a** up during a Senate hearing to use Jackson’s common AF surname to draw the stupidest parallel imaginable in insinuating that she’s a Nazi sympathizer based on her record as a public defender.
Sen. Tom Cotton Says Ketanji Brown Jackson Would’ve Defended Nuremberg Nazis. But He’s A Slavery Defender Though
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Isn’t Moderate Enough For GOP Senators But Neither Was Merrick Garland
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