Judge Jackson becomes first Black woman on Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson made history after being confirmed with a bipartisan vote


Associated Press

Ketanji Brown Jackson celebrates her confirmation at the South Lawn of the White House on Friday, April 8, 2022

A senate vote of 53-47 officially confirmed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court Thursday, April 7. 

Jackson will be the first African American woman to serve on the court, replacing Justice Stephen G. Breyer upon his retirement this summer. 

Despite republican efforts to portray Jackson as an extremist, three GOP senators joined democrats in confirming the newest Justice. 

It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” she said. “But we’ve made it. We’ve made it. All of us. ”

— Ketanji Brown Jackson

Upon her confirmation, video footage revealed republican senators exiting the chamber as democratic members initiated a standing ovation to celebrate the vote. 

One sole GOP senator remained to join in on the applause; Utah representative Mitt Romney, one of the three republicans who voted in favor of Ketanji Brown Jackson, was seen clapping alongside democrats. 

In a statement from April 4, Romney proclaimed, “After reviewing Judge Jackson’s record and testimony, I have concluded that she is a well-qualified jurist and a person of honor. While I do not expect to agree with every decision she may make on the Court, I believe that she more than meets the standard of excellence and integrity. I congratulate Judge Jackson on her expected confirmation and look forward to her continued service to our nation.”

Romney’s support for Jackson was not shared by a majority of his fellow conservative congressmen, however. Republican senators made Jackson’s confirmation a relentless process, asking her questions that were outside of her job’s jurisdiction and pointing unfounded accusations at her. 

Republican Senator Tom Cotton asked Jackson, “Do you think we should catch and imprison more murderers or fewer murderers?” Cotton procceeded to claim that Jackson would have defended the Nazis, citing her work as a representative for four men arrested under anti-terrorism laws in Guantanamo Bay. Cotton failed to mention that she was a public defender at that time, and she was assigned to the case. 

Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn also focused on party politics rather than qualifications, asking Jackson to provide a definition of the word woman, to which Jackson responded with, “I’m not a biologist.” 

Senator Ted Cruz even asked Jackson to speculate whether or not he could sue Harvard if he decided to identify ‘as an Asian man.’ Cruz further questioned her on the children’s books included on a reading list at the school which Jackson’s daughter attends. He claimed the books were teaching critical race theory, and asked if Jackson believed that “babies are racist.” 

Many republicans did not ask the nominee questions regarding her experience as a judge, however Jackson will be one of the most accomplished justices to sit on the court in the status quo. 

Judge Jackson served eight years on the US District Court for Washington, DC, and accumulated more experience as a judge than Justice Thomas, Roberts, Barrett, and Kagan combined at the time of their confirmations. 

At the White House ceremony commemorating her confirmation on Friday, April 8, Jackson acknowledged the impact of her nomination, and how important her success is for Black women across the country. 

“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” she said. “But we’ve made it. We’ve made it. All of us.”