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The U.S. Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman to hold the position.
The move meant not only did President Joe Biden keep his promise to nominate a Black woman to the high court, his nomination won enough support to make it an actuality.
The Senate on April 7 voted 53-47 in favor of confirmation, with all Democrats in favor along with three Republicans: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah. Jackson will succeed Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who is retiring this summer.
Jackson had been confirmed to a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judgeship in 2021 and previously served eight years as a federal district court judge. She is a former federal public defender.
PolitiFact, Biden Promise Tracker, Accessed April 7, 2022
PolitiFact, All of our fact-checks about the U.S. Supreme Court, Accessed April 7, 2022
President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, fulfilling his pledge to nominate the first Black woman to the nation's highest court.
"Judge Jackson grew up in Miami, Florida," Biden said at the announcement of her nomination on Feb. 25. "Her parents grew up with segregation, but never gave up hope that their children would enjoy the true promise of America."
In announcing the appointment, Biden said Jackson has "a uniquely accomplished and wide ranging background."
Jackson, 51, currently serves on what is generally considered the second highest court in the land, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Recent justices elevated from that court include Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Roberts, and Brett Kavanaugh.
Jackson was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit last year by a 53-44 vote in the U.S. Senate, with support from all Democrats and from three Republicans: Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Prior to her nomination to the D.C. Circuit judgeship, Jackson served for eight years as a federal district court judge, having been appointed by President Barack Obama. She has also served as vice chair and commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Jackson, having worked as a federal public defender, would be the first Supreme Court justice with extensive criminal defense experience since the late Thurgood Marshall. A graduate of Harvard University and its law school, Jackson held three clerkships, including one for Breyer, the justice she is nominated to succeed.
Biden had made the promise about the Supreme Court during a Democratic presidential debate in February 2020, exactly two years before the nomination and during the run-up to the South Carolina primary. "I'm looking forward to making sure there's a Black woman on the Supreme Court to make sure we in fact get everyone represented," he said. Biden ended up winning the primary in a state with a substantial electorate of Black Democrats, paving the way for his nomination.
A robust debate in the Senate is expected prior to a confirmation vote, but Biden has made the nomination he promised. We rate it a Promise Kept.
New York Times, "Biden Expected to Nominate a Black Woman to the Supreme Court," Jan. 26, 2022
Washington Post, "Joe Biden is making a Supreme Court promise. Ronald Reagan did, too," Feb. 26, 2020
Senate Periodical Press Gallery, tweet, June 14, 2021