President Biden’s nomination to the Supreme Court is federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Jackson’s nomination comes weeks after Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer decided to retire. If confirmed by the United States Senate, Jackson will make history being the first-ever Black woman to become a Supreme Court Justice.
“For too long our government, our courts haven't looked like America,” Biden said. “And I believe it is time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications.”
The Senate Democrats are expected to move quickly to confirm Jackson to the Supreme Court. It both fulfills Biden’s pledge he made during the campaign in 2020 and gives an accomplishment to campaign on during the midterm elections.
“Once the president sends Judge Jackson’s nomination to the Senate, Senate Democrats will work to ensure a fair, timely and expeditious process,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in a statement.
Schumer added, “With her exceptional qualifications and record of evenhandedness, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be a justice who will uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of all Americans, including the voiceless and vulnerable.”
The swearing in of Jackson may take until June once Breyer is expected to officially step down. However, a confirmation vote may come sooner so Jackson could be sworn in as soon as possible.
Jackson is expected to be confirmed. How many votes for the confirmation is up in the air. Since it’s a midterm election cycle, Senators will campaign on the nomination as it’s going to be politicized. Five Senators’ votes will likely decide the nomination: Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT).
A likely party-line vote will result in 50 yes votes and 50 no votes, mimicking the current balance of the Senate. If that happens, Vice President Kamala Harris would break the tie and Jackson is still confirmed. It is possible that Jackson garners Republican votes. During a vote to confirm her to the federal appeals court, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was one of two Republican yes votes. This time around, Graham is not keen on voting yes to confirm Jackson.
“If media reports are accurate, and Judge Jackson has been chosen as the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Breyer, it means the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again,” said Graham.
Locally, both of Rhode Island’s Senators are going to vote in favor of confirming Jackson.
“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a thoroughly qualified nominee. She will bring to the Court a wealth of experience, a sharp legal mind, and a firm commitment to equal protection under law. I look forward to considering her nomination in the Judiciary Committee in the weeks ahead,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
Senator Jack Reed has a similar position on Jackson’s nomination. “Judge Jackson is an exemplary, history-making nominee. She has served on the federal bench with distinction and reverence for the law and our Constitution. She has already proven herself to be a fair, independent-minded judge,” says Reed. “She is someone who all Americans can count on to always put the Constitution first and serve justice.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gives a more critical reaction that may be a strategy the Senate GOP will use. “Since then, I understand that she has published a total of two opinions, both in the last few weeks, and that one of her prior rulings was just reversed by a unanimous panel of her present colleagues on the D.C. Circuit,” says McConnell. “I also understand Judge Jackson was the favored choice of far-left dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the Court itself.”
Although it’s likely Jackson is confirmed, Senate Republicans will fight her confirmation as Democrats did with President Trump’s Supreme Court nominees.