The Senate confirmed on Thursday Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson before the Supreme Court, making her the first black woman to be elevated to the top of the judicial branch, which her supporters hailed as a necessary step towards bringing new diversity and life experience to the court.
Overcoming the concerted effort of Conservative Republicans to decline her nomination, Judge Jackson was confirmed by vote 53-47, with three Republicans joining all 50 Democrats in her support. The vote rejected Republican attempts to portray her as a liberal extremist who spoiled criminals. Dismissing these images as distorted and offensive, Judge Jackson’s supporters found this affirmation an uplifting occasion in which a group representative often pushed himself to the background rather than forcing himself to the fore.
The vote put her in line to replace Judge Stephen G. Breyer, who will retire at the end of the court session this summer.
“Even in the darkest of times there are bright lights,” New York City Senator Chuck Schumer, leader of the majority, said at a Senate meeting. “Today is one of the brightest lights. Let’s hope it’s a metaphor, a foreshadowing of many bright lights to come. ”
He added: “How many millions of children in previous generations could have benefited from such a role model?” On Capitol Hill, the galleries that were to witness the historic vote were full of long lines to enter.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a minority leader, made a final argument against her nomination, citing her nomination as an example of the extreme left taking control of the Democratic Party.
“When it came to one of the most significant decisions a president can make, a lifetime appointment to our supreme court, the Biden administration allowed radicals to run the show,” he said. “The extreme left got the reckless inflation spending they wanted. The extreme left was given the uncertain border they wanted. And today the extreme left will get the Supreme Court justice it wanted. “
Three Republicans – Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah – crossed party lines to lend a hand to Judge Jackson, lending a somewhat overparticipation to a bitterly polarized trial.
Vice President Kamala Harris, the first black woman to hold the position and one of only 11 black senators in American history, presided over the vote – one historical figure presiding over another – while senators identified their positions from their desks in a reflection of the magnitude of the moment. Members of the Congressional Black Club have gathered in the Senate Hall to celebrate the occasion.
At the White House, Mr. Biden and Judge Jackson watched the vote from Roosevelt’s room.
The final debate followed the controversial battle of confirmation in which conservative Republicans worked to derail Judge Jackson’s appointment and taint her results with misleading claims, painting her as a liberal extremist who spoiled criminals, especially those accused of child sexual abuse.
On Wednesday, ahead of the approval vote, some of the judge’s most high-profile critics aired their objections for the last time.
“She is extremely outlier on crime,” Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz told reporters, repeating the right-wing attack that Judge Jackson was lenient in the conviction of the defendants, particularly sex offenders.
Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, argued that “dark left groups” supporting Judge Jackson “are trying to push for this waking education program.”
Condemning such criticism, its supporters emphasized its profound qualifications and experience in law, and described its impending confirmation as a triumph.
“This is really, in my opinion, a moment to celebrate,” said Senator Michael Bennet, Colorado Democrat, urging the judge to confirm and regretting it would not be unanimous. “He is an inspiration to millions of Americans.”