The United States’ Senate on Thursday voted 53-47 to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson the first black American female to sit on the bench of the Supreme Court.
He confirmation enjoyed cross partisan approval as three Republican senators comprising Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine joined all 48 Democrats and two independents in voting to confirm 51 year old Jackson to become the Supreme Court’s 116th justice.
The Oracle Today reports that out of the 115 justices that have come before Jackson, 108 were white men, two were Black men, four were white women and one was a Latina woman.
Vice President Kamala Harris, the nation’s first woman, first Black person and first Asian American to hold that office, presided over the historic vote.
Harris expressed sense of joy and pride in the American nation, saying the confirmation of Jackson into the Supreme Court has brought full representation of “the finest and brightest and best.”
“In the 233-year history of the Supreme Court, never, never has a Black woman held the title of justice,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had said in a speech before the vote.
“Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first and I believe the first of more to come,” he urged.
“Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation,” President Joe Biden tweeted, adding: “We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her.”
Officials of the White House stated Thursday that Biden and Harris would host Jackson at an event on the South Lawn on Friday to celebrate her confirmation.
Jackson faced numerous attacks from Republicans during her marathon confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.
Her confirmation comes less than two months after Biden introduced the federal appeals court judge as his pick to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer — fulfilling his campaign promise of appointing a Black woman to the Supreme Court.
Jackson won’t be sworn in until this summer, when Breyer officially retires.
When she does take her seat, the nine-member court will comprise four women — Jackson and Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett — the most ever at one time.
It will also be the first time in U.S. history that white men won’t be the majority on the Supreme Court. The bench will include five men, four of them white.
Jackson, though, won’t change the ideological makeup of the court, as conservatives will still hold a 6-3 majority.
Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14, 1970. As a young child, she moved to Miami with her parents who are graduates of historically Black colleges and universities and who worked as public school teachers.
Jackson has credited her father with inspiring her to pursue law, as he became a full-time law student when she was 4 years old.
“My very earliest memories are of watching my father study,” Jackson said during her confirmation hearings. “He had his stack of law books on the kitchen table while I sat across from him with my stack of coloring books.”
She graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School, where she met Dr. Patrick Jackson, a gastrointestinal surgeon. They married in 1996 and have two daughters, Leila and Talia.
Jackson will also be the first Supreme Court justice since Thurgood Marshall to have represented indigent criminal defendants.She represented Guantánamo Bay detainees as a public defender and later worked on the issue in private practice.
In addition to her public defender work, Jackson served as vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, working to reduce the penalties for crack cocaine offenders. She was appointed to that post in 2009 by then-President Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president.
Obama also nominated Jackson to be a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2012. She was confirmed with bipartisan support in 2013.