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Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Becomes the First Black Woman on the Supreme Court

On Thursday, April 7, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Biden’s appointment of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court after a long six-week confirmation process. This is the first appointment to the Supreme Court that Biden has made.

With the confirmation, Jackson will make history as the first African American woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice Jackson is set to replace Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer this summer, who was appointed by President Clinton in 1994. Jackson will not be formally sworn in until then.

During the week of April 4, Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced that they would vote in favor of Judge Jackson’s nomination. These two Republicans, along with another Republican Senator, Susan Collins of Maine, crossed party lines to confirm the new associate justice. The procedural vote, which took place earlier this week, split the Senate 53-47 in favor of her confirmation. This vote did not change and on Thursday around 1:45 p.m., she was awarded her new title as Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

During her confirmation process, new Supreme Court Justice Jackson discussed her respect for the design of the American government. She states, “Judges should not be policymakers. That’s a part of our constitutional design, and it prevents our government from being too powerful and encroaching on individual liberty.” Jackson’s confirmation took less time than many other modern confirmed appointments, reaching 41 days from the announcement. Former President Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett took 10 days less, coming in at 30 days.

Many members of the Republican Party were concerned about the qualifications of the nominee. Minority Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell said, “When it came to one of the most consequential decisions a president can make, a lifetime appointment to our highest court, the Biden administration let the radicals run the show.”

On the other hand, Former First Lady Michelle Obama took to Instagram to share her thanks to the new associate justice. She writes, “Thank you, Justice Jackson, for giving Black girls and women everywhere—including my daughters—a new dream to dream, a new path to forge, and a future we can all be hopeful for.”

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson attended Harvard University and Harvard Law School. She is also a former Vice-Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission and served as a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2021. Her confirmation will not change the current conservative ideology of the Supreme Court of the United States. According to a survey conducted by Marquette University Law School, associate justice Jackson has the support of the vast majority of Americans, acquiring 66 percent stating that they would support her nomination. The 34 percent would not.

On Friday, April 8, at 12:15 PM, President Biden, Vice President Harris and new Associate Justice Jackson will speak regarding the confirmation by the Senate. Biden and Harris have already taken to social media to show their gratitude and congratulations. President Biden tweeted, “We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America.”

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An FSU student from Ormond Beach, Florida, studying political science with a minor in professional communication.
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