The Ketanji Brown Jackson Hearings May Be Only The Beginning
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Just before the Senate Judiciary Committee voted, this week, on Judge Ketanji Brown Jacksons nomination to the Supreme Courtone of the final hurdles before her confirmation by the full Senate, on ThursdayThom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, offered a personal reminiscence from the hearings. I got an opportunity during one of the breaks to go up to her parents, and I told them that they clearly raised her right, Tillis said. They should be very proud. Then he voted against her, after a multiday spectacle during which Republican senators portrayed Jackson as a dangerous judge engaged in an extremist mission to undermine public safety on behalf of child-sex offenders, terrorists, and shadowy moneyed figures on the far left. Indeed, Tilliss admiration for parents who had reared such a purported threat to the Republic would be befuddling if the falsity of the attacks against her were not so evident. The real mystery is why the senator thought that he had the standing to offer Jacksons parents anything other than an apology.
This article has been updated to reflect the contested attribution of Aint I a woman? to Sojourner Truth.
Analysis: These 5 Justices Will Likely Be The Face Of The Supreme Court In The Upcoming Decades
The succession of Ketanji Brown Jackson, age 51, for Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, will add a shot of youthfulness to the Supreme Court and may present an opportunity for a reset at an institution whose reputation has slipped.
Five of the nine justices will be under 65, four of them of Generation X. They will be the face of the court in the upcoming decades.
For the immediate future, the addition of Jackson could prompt the court to reassess its response to diminishing public confidence. It has experienced a sharp drop in opinion polls. And the justices lack of transparency on recent procedural and ethical issues has accelerated criticism.
Chief Justice John Roberts has made clear his concerns about the integrity of the bench. He may believe and be able to persuade his colleagues that with a new justice in place, it is time to try to shore up public confidence, perhaps by formally adopting an ethics code.
A new junior justice, even one who is making history as the first Black woman on the court, would have limited impact within the marble walls. But, as Roberts has observed, a new justice can cause the rest to rethink old patterns.
I think it can cause you to take a fresh look at how things are decided, he told C-SPAN in 2009, in a rare expansive on-the-record interview. The new member is going to have a particular view about how issues should be addressed that may be very different from what weve been following for some time.
Read the full analysis here.
As Republicans Prepare To Grill Jackson They Are Re
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina used his opening statement at the Supreme Court confirmation hearing to air lingering grievances over the treatment of Brett M. Kavanaugh, in an apparent effort to justify Republicans tough questioning of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and rebut suggestions that challenging the first Black woman nominated to the court amounted to racism.
Mr. Graham seized on Justice Kavanaughs explosive confirmation hearings in 2018 as an example of unfair treatment of a Supreme Court nominee, asserting that Judge Jackson was already being afforded more respect and could expect a more civil tone in four days of hearings this week.
None of us are going to do that to you, said Mr. Graham, referring to Justice Kavanaughs hearings. He noted that Republicans could not even get through an opening statement in those proceedings before being interrupted by liberal activists.
Judge Jackson has never been accused of committing sexual assault, as Justice Kavanaugh was during his confirmation hearings. Christine Blasey Ford said the judge had sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers, an allegation that Justice Kavanaugh vehemently denied. As the process drew to a close, Mr. Graham delivered a fiery speech to the Senate Judiciary Committee denouncing Democrats tactics as the most unethical sham since Ive been in politics.
Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, went even further, minimizing Ms. Fords accusations to the vanishing point.
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The 3 Republicans That Voted To Confirm Judge Jackson
Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined Democrats to vote in favor of Judge Ketanji Brown Jacksons confirmation to the Supreme Court.
In announcing that they would support the nomination, Murkowski and Collins both expressed concern over what they described as the politicization of the Supreme Court confirmation process.
Murkowski said that she rejects the corrosive politicization of the review process for Supreme Court nominees, which, on both sides of the aisle, is growing worse and more detached from reality by the year in her statement.
Collins said in her statement, No matter where you fall on the ideological spectrum, anyone who has watched several of the last Supreme Court confirmation hearings would reach the conclusion that the process is broken.
It used to be common for Senators to give the President, regardless of political party, considerable deference in the choice of a nominee, Collins said.
The Maine Republican said that approach instilled confidence in the independence and the integrity of the judiciary and helped keep the Court above the political fray, adding, this is the approach that I plan to continue to use for Supreme Court nominations because it runs counter to the disturbing trend of politicizing the judicial nomination process.
Jackson Vows In Her Opening Remarks To Be An Independent Judge Who Knows Her Limited Role
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman nominated to serve on the Supreme Court, vowed to make the words inscribed on its edifice Equal Justice Under Law a reality and not just an ideal in opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.
Judge Jackson, 51, began by first thanking God, and then the people who had brought her to the threshold of history. She started with her parents, recalling her fathers decision shortly after her birth to relocate from Florida to Washington, D.C., to escape racism and experience new freedom.
She noted that the spirit of public service they instilled in their children led her into a judicial career and inspired her younger brother to join the Army after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He served two tours in the Middle East.
I cannot possibly thank them enough for everything theyve done for me, she said as they watched. I love you, Mom and Dad.
Judge Jackson also reminded those watching the hearing that she, like Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was appointed by President Donald J. Trump in 2020, is the mother of school-aged children.
I know it has not been easy as Ive tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood, she told her two daughters.
Judge Jackson, who joked about her propensity for writing lengthy decisions, was notably economical in expressing her worldview and judicial philosophy.
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‘we Have Made It’: Ketanji Brown Jackson Honored To Become First Black Female Justice
An emotional Ketanji Brown Jackson said: We have made it, as she acknowledged the honor and responsibility of becoming the first Black woman justice to serve on the US supreme court.
Its been somewhat overwhelming, in a good way, to recently be flooded with thousands of notes and cards and photos, expressing just how much this moment means to so many people, she said.
The notes that Ive received from children are particularly cute and especially meaningful because more than anything, they speak directly to the hope and promise of America.
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. But weve made it. Weve made it all of us, and our children are telling me that they see now, more than ever, that here in America anything is possible.
Jackson said she also appreciated the responsibility she has been handed:
They also tell me that Im a role model, which I take both as an opportunity and as a huge responsibility, she said.
I am feeling up to the task primarily because I know that I am not alone. I am standing on the shoulders of my own role models, generations of Americans who never had anything close to this kind of opportunity. But who got up every day and went to work, believing in the promise of America, showing others through their determination and yes, their perseverance, that good things can be done in this great country.
Read more here:
Ketanji Brown Jackson Becomes 1st Black Woman On Supreme Court
Those three Republicans will not be attending the event Friday as Collins has tested positive for Covid and Murkowski is in Alaska for an event and a spokesperson for Romney said he was not going. The Utah Republican and former 2012 GOP presidential nominee was the lone Republican to join in the loud applause that erupted for Jackson’s confirmation after the vote.
Biden watched the vote unfold Thursday with Jackson at the White House.
Jackson will not become a justice until the end of the court’s current term likely in June or July when Justice Stephen Breyer is expected to step down, and Biden makes good on a major campaign promise to put the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.
Once Jackson takes her place on the bench, the high court will still maintain a 6-3 conservative balance because she’s replacing a liberal justice.
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In Historic First Ketanji Brown Jackson Is Confirmed To Supreme Court
The slim margin reflects the current polarization surrounding the politics of judicial confirmations. The three most recent justices Amy Coney Barrett in 2020, Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, and Neil Gorsuch in 2017 were confirmed in similarly tight votes that broke down along mostly party lines. In contrast, some of Jacksons other colleagues-to-be received more bipartisan support: Justice Elena Kagan, for example, was confirmed by a vote of 63-37 in 2010, while Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed by a vote of 78-22 in 2005.
Jackson was widely regarded as the front-runner to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer even before the 83-year-old Breyer announced on Jan. 27 that he plans to step down from the court this summer. She spent seven years as a federal trial judge before being elevated in 2021 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often dubbed the nations second-most important court because of the high-profile cases that it hears and because it has served as a launching pad for several other Supreme Court justices before her. Before becoming a judge, she worked for two years as a federal public defender. She will be the first justice ever to have served in that role, and the first since Justice Thurgood Marshall with significant experience representing criminal defendants.
A Day Of Excitement For Jacksons Supporters As History Unfolds On Capitol Hill
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas held up her phone to record as Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey spoke about the sheer joy he felt on the historic first day of Judge Ketanji Brown Jacksons confirmation hearings, one that he called, simply, not a normal day for America.
Ms. Lee had no formal role in the proceedings, and the House of Representatives was out of session. She was simply attending as a supporter witnessing history.
Were not supposed to do this, Ms. Lee said to Judge Jackson during a brief break, approaching her for a handshake. But Im so proud of you.
The excitement of two Black members of Congress, both Democrats, underscored a strange duality of the day. History was unfolding as the Senate opened its hearings to confirm the first Black woman to the nations highest court. But at the same time, there was a somber mood to the proceedings.
Judge Jacksons background and experience she was rated well qualified for the job by the American Bar Association made it difficult to assail her fitness for the job. Her confirmation would not change the ideological composition of the court, which is tilted 6-3 toward conservatives, and still would be if she were confirmed to succeed Justice Stephen G. Breyer, a liberal who has announced he will step down when the current term ends this summer. And Republicans have promised a more dignified review than has unfolded in the past.
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Two Acquitted Of Plot To Kidnap Michigan Governor Whitmer
A federal jury has acquitted two men of conspiring to kidnap the Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, and was deadlocked on the same charges for two other men.
The four were charged in a plot prosecutors said was inspired by their fierce opposition to pandemic-related restrictions put into place by her office.
According to Reuters:
The 12-member panel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, found Adam Fox and Daniel Harris not guilty of kidnapping conspiracy charges. The jury was not able to agree on a verdict for Brandon Caserta and Barry Croft Jr.
Harris was also found not guilty of knowingly conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons or property for allegations of plotting to use explosives to blow up a bridge after abducting the governor. The jury was not able to reach a verdict against Fox and Croft for the same charge, resulting in a mistrial. Caserta did not face the weapons charge.
The case stands one of the most high-profile prosecutions of alleged members of right-wing organizations that have sprung up in the years since former President Donald Trumps election in 2016. It also highlights the extent to which the pandemic and government efforts to control it have become a wedge issue in US politics.
Read more about the case here:
Sen Booker Describes What The Scene Was Like Inside The Senate As Jackson Was Confirmed
Speaking to CNNs Wolf Blitzer on Thursday evening, Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, described what the scene was like inside the chamber when the Senate voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.
I mean, the energy in that room and the overwhelming emotion was just laid evident. I talked to staff, people who work the floor in the Senate and that have been there, you know, some of them decades, they said theyve never seen a confirmation vote like that, where you could feel the electricity, the anticipation and when that final vote came, I just was overwhelmed, Booker said.
And it is almost like you could witness the arc of the moral universe bending a little bit more towards justice in our country and a long pathway of struggle to be a more perfect union, really be advanced, the senator continued.
Booker, who is one of only three Black senators, and Jackson had several memorable exchanges during her confirmation hearings.
At one point during the hearings last month, the judge became visibly emotional and could be seen wiping away tears as Booker talked about her path to the nomination and the obstacles she has had to overcome.
Watch Bookers interview on CNN:
The energy in that room and the overwhelming emotion was just laid evident. – @CoryBooker talks to @wolfblitzer about the historic Senate vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court.
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Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmation Hearings And Votes
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Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in to serve on the United States Supreme Court on June 30, 2022, the same day Stephen Breyer retired from the court. President Joe Biden announced he would nominate Jackson to fill Breyer’s vacancy on the court on February 25. Jackson was confirmed by the Senate in a 53-47 vote on April 7.
All 48 Senate Democrats voted to approve Jackson’s confirmation, along with the two Independents who caucus with Democrats and Republican Sens. Susan Collins , Lisa Murkowski , and Mitt Romney . The 47 other Republicans in the chamber voted against the confirmation.
All nominees to the court are subject to the advice and consent of the United States Senate. Judicial nominations from the president are referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Twenty-two senators sit on the committee, including 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Sen. is the chairman and Sen.Chuck Grassley is the ranking member.
This page provides coverage related to Jackson’s Senate confirmation.
Watch The Key Moments From The Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmation Hearing
The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson wrapped up Thursday after four tumultuous days.
Jackson spoke about her judicial experience and her family and addressed the historic nature of her nomination, which would make her the first Black female Supreme Court justice. The hearing also featured contentious moments of harsh questioning by committee Republicans and an emotional speech from Democratic Sen. Cory Booker.
Here are clips of some of the most notable moments:
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Biden Marks Historic Confirmation Of Ketanji Brown Jackson To Supreme Court
WASHINGTON President Joe Biden hosted Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson at the White House on Friday to celebrate her historic confirmation by the Senate to serve as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.
To cheers and applause, Biden stood with Vice President Kamala Harris the first Black woman to hold that elected office and Jackson at the event on the South Lawn.
Were going to look back and see this as a moment of real change in American history, Biden said, adding he had thought about the importance of nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court for a long, long time.