US Senate poised to confirm Jackson to Supreme Court

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Us Senate Poised To Confirm Jackson To Supreme Court Us Senate Poised To Confirm Jackson To Supreme Court
Supreme Court Nomination, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Mary Clare Jalonick and Mark Sherman, Associated Press

The Senate is expected to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on Thursday, securing her place as the first black woman on the high court.

Three Republican senators have said they will support Judge Jackson, who would replace Justice Stephen Breyer when he retires this summer.

The vote will be a significant bipartisan accomplishment for President Joe Biden in the narrow 50-50 Senate after GOP senators worked to paint Jackson as too liberal and soft on crime.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it will be “a joyous day”, as he announced Thursday’s vote. “Joyous for the Senate, joyous for the Supreme Court, joyous for America.”


 

Judge Jackson, a 51-year-old federal appeals court judge, would be just the third black justice, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, and the sixth woman.

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She would join two other women, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, on the liberal side of a 6-3 conservative court. With Justice Amy Coney Barrett sitting at the other end of the bench, four of the nine justices would be women for the first time.

After a hearing in which Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee interrogated Judge Jackson on her sentencing record, three GOP senators came out and said they would support her.

The statements from Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Utah Sen ator Mitt Romney all said the same thing — they might not always agree with Judge Jackson, but they found her to be well-qualified for the job.

Senators Collins and Murkowski both decried the increasingly partisan confirmation process, calling it “broken”, “corrosive” and “more detached from reality by the year”.

President Biden said from the beginning that he wanted support from both parties for his history-making nominee, and he invited Republicans to the White House as he made his decision.

It was an attempted reset from three Supreme Court battles during President Donald Trump’s presidency, when Democrats vociferously opposed the nominees, and from the end of President Barack Obama’s, when Republicans blocked Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland from getting a vote.

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Before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, Judge Jackson said her life was shaped by her parents’ experiences with racial segregation and civil rights laws that were enacted a decade before she was born.

With her parents and family sitting behind her, she told the panel that her “path was clearer” than theirs as a black American. She attended Harvard University, served as a public defender, worked at a private law firm and was appointed as a member of the US Sentencing Commission in addition to her nine years on the federal bench.

“I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously,” Judge Jackson said. “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.”

Once sworn in, Judge Jackson would be the second youngest member of the court after Senator Barrett, who is 50. She would join a court on which no one is yet aged 75, the first time that has happened in nearly 30 years.


 

Republicans spent the hearings interrogating her sentencing record on the federal bench, including the sentences she handed down in child pornography cases, which they argued were too light.

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Judge Jackson pushed back on the GOP narrative, declaring that “nothing could be further from the truth” and explaining her reasoning in detail. Democrats said she was in line with other judges in her decisions.

“You could try and create a straw man here, but it does not hold,” said New Jersey Senator Cory Booker at the committee’s vote earlier this week. The panel deadlocked on the nomination 11-11, but the Senate voted to discharge it from committee and moved ahead with her confirmation.

In an impassioned moment during the hearings last month, Senator Booker, who is also black, told Judge Jackson that he felt emotional watching her testify. He said he saw “my ancestors and yours” in her image.

“But don’t worry, my sister,” he said. “Don’t worry. God has got you. And how do I know that? Because you’re here, and I know what it’s taken for you to sit in that seat.”

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