Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed as Supreme Court Justice

Federal judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed Thursday as the next U.S. Supreme Court justice following contentious Senate hearings that revolved around political flashpoints.

Jackson, 51, becomes the first Black woman to earn a seat on the nation’s highest court after the 53-47 confirmation vote in the Senate that mostly fell along partisan lines.

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Three Republicans broke ranks to affirm the confirmation of the jurist who was appointed to several as a federal judge for the Washington, D.C. circuit in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Last year, President Joe Biden appointed her to the court of appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The fact that Jackson had been confirmed twice by the Senate in the past decade added to the sense of political grandstanding around the hearings earlier this week. Several Republican senators grilled Jackson about her past rulings on crimes involving child pornography, with nods to outrageous tropes spread by the far-right fringe about liberal Democrats.

Jackson will become the fourth woman to currently serve on the high court, joining Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Amy Coney Barrett. She will succeed Justice Stephen Breyer, who in January announced his plan to retire when the current court term ends this summer. That opened the door for President Biden to make his first selection for the high court.

“We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America,” Biden wrote in a tweet that included a picture of him and Jackson watching the Senate confirmation vote on C-SPAN 2.

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Barrett was confirmed on a 52-48 vote in October 2020 after equally contentious hearings and tough questioning about her judicial philosophy. The appointments of Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, who joined in October 2018, took the high court to a clear conservative majority.

Jackson’s appointment was widely hailed across the entertainment industry as a sign of cultural progress even amid the partisan discord.

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