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Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson as first Black woman on Supreme Court

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Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson as first Black woman on Supreme Court
President Joe Biden and Ketanji Brown Jackson watch as the U.S. Senate votes to confirm her to the U.S. Supreme Court at the White House on Thursday. Photo by Joshua Roberts/UPI | License Photo

April 7 (UPI) -- The Senate voted on Thursday to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to serve as justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Senators voted 53-47 in favor of her confirmation -- the same tally that advanced her nomination out of committee Monday.

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Three Republicans -- Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -- voted with Democrats to approve President Joe Biden's first nomination to the country's highest court.

The three Republicans signaled their support for her ahead of the vote, virtually assuring that she would succeed Justice Stephen Breyer when he retires in June.

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Officials said Jackson was with Biden in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to watch the historic Senate vote. The White House also said Biden, Jackson and Vice President Kamala Harris will speak about the confirmation on Friday.

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At a news conference after the vote, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called it "an amazing day." He said he felt elated "because of this wonderful person going on the court."

"This has been a long, hard road as we've tried to get to greater equality ... there are often steps backward, but when you have a day like this, it inspires you to move forward."

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Sen. Cory Booker, who praised Jackson profusely during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, praised Thursday's vote.

"Let us rejoice!" he tweeted, referencing comments he made during the hearing, promising to "rejoice" when she's confirmed.

Jackson, 51, was nominated in February and has met privately with various senators over the past few weeks. Last month, she underwent questioning for two days before the Senate judiciary committee -- where some Republicans grilled her on her track record and accused her of being soft on crime as a judge.

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The committee ultimately passed Jackson's nomination on to the full Senate.

Jackson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, needed only a simple majority of 51 votes for confirmation.

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"My support rests on Judge Jackson's qualifications, which no one questions," Murkowski said in a statement. "Her demonstrated judicial independence; her demeanor and temperament; and the important perspective she would bring to the court."

The judiciary committee deadlocked on Jackson's nomination, at 11 on each side, which sent the matter to the full Senate, which voted 53-47 to put her final confirmation up for a vote.

Jackson's confirmation maintains the Supreme Court's 6-3 conservative edge. The last justice nominated and confirmed to the high court was Amy Coney Barrett in 2020. She was appointed by former President Donald Trump to succeed liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Bernice King, CEO of The King Center and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., said Jackson's nomination is historic not only because she's a Black woman, but also because of her notable experience and qualifications.

"Today's landmark U.S. Senate confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court marks a historic step in the ongoing work of creating a more just, humane and equitable nation," she said.

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"It is beyond time for the highest court in the land to better represent the diversity of the nation and, considering the extraordinary contributions of Black women, to include a Black woman justice."

Ibram X. Kendi, author and director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, posted on Twitter a drawing of Jackson with her hair in dreadlocks.

"I can't wait to show my brown-skinned daughter with locs that someone who looks like her will sit on the Supreme Court of the United States. For the first time ever," he tweeted.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court

American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary member Ann Claire Williams, a witness during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing of Ketanji Brown Jackson, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on March 24, 2022. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

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