First Black woman confirmed as Judge of the US Supreme Court
JUDGE Ketanji Brown Jackson has been confirmed as a Justice of the US Supreme Court Internet photo
Press Release
April 8, 2022
First Black woman confirmed as Judge of the US Supreme Court

THE UNITED STATES Senate voted yesterday to confirm Judge, Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, felling one of the most significant remaining racial barriers in American government and sending the first Democratic nominee to the high court in 12 years.

Jackson, a daughter of schoolteachers who has risen steadily through America’s elite legal ranks, will become the first Black woman to sit on the court and only the eighth who is not a White man. She will replace Associate Justice, Stephen G. Breyer after the Supreme Court’s term ends in late June or early July.

Thursday’s 53-47 vote represents the culmination of a six-week whirlwind confirmation process for the 51-year-old federal appeals judge.

It began in February with President Joe Biden introducing Jackson as a distinguished nominee who would “help write the next chapter in the history of the journey of America” and reached a climax during two days of tense Senate hearings last month where Republicans sought to paint her as a left-wing radical who had cosseted criminals and terrorists, only for three GOP senators to ultimately reject those claims and support her confirmation.

Underscoring the partisan tensions, Jackson’s confirmation came only after the Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked on her nomination along party lines and Republicans forced three procedural votes on the Senate floor this week. But Democrats said Thursday that her confirmation should be a cause for national reflection and jubilation.

“This milestone should have happened generations ago — generations ago — but we are always trotting on a path towards a more perfect union,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “America today is taking a giant step towards making our union more perfect.”

Jackson faces an odd interregnum, at least a three-month stretch with no official judicial duties.

Breyer has said he will not vacate his post until the court “rises” at the end of the term, which means all argued cases are dispensed with and housekeeping duties performed — a point that is expected to fall in late June or early July. Most nominees take their oaths quickly after they are confirmed, but Breyer’s unusual timetable means that cannot happen immediately. A confirmed nominee cannot become a justice until she has taken an oath to support the Constitution and a separate judicial oath to “administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich.”

Even though Jackson would join the court as it starts its summer recess, she would likely move quickly to organise her chambers and hire personnel. She would be called upon before the start of next fall’s term to decide emergency petitions, an increasing part of the court’s workload.

The justices meet in September to sort through hundreds or thousands of petitions and select the cases they will hear.

Although an official investiture ceremony might come earlier, Jackson would take the bench for official duty on the first day of the court’s new term, Oct. 3. (Washington Post)