Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination clears last hurdle setting up final confirmation vote later Thursday

The nomination cleared a key hurdle early Thursday when the Senate held a procedural vote to limit debate and break a filibuster. Now, the final confirmation vote, which is expected to be successful, will take place as soon as 1:45 pm ET and requires only a simple majority.

Vice President Kamala Harris will preside over the Senate during its historic vote to confirm Jackson, the vice president’s office said Thursday. Harris, who is the first black woman to serve as vice president, will preside in her capacity as president of the Senate. Harris is not required to cast a tiebreaker vote.

All 50 members of the Senate Democratic caucus are united behind the nomination and three Republicans, Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have also announced their support.
Jackson’s confirmation will not change the ideological balance of the court. The court currently has six conservative justices and three liberal justices, with the retiring justice, Stephen Breyer, coming from the liberal camp. But the confirmation will still mark an important historical milestone for the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary.

Before the final vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the moment a “joyful, momentous and groundbreaking day.”

“The Senate will fulfill its constitutional duty to finally confirm this remarkable and innovative jurist,” he said.

Schumer went on to say, “In the 233-year history of the Supreme Court, never, ever has a Black woman held the title of Justice. Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first and I believe the first of many to come.”

Confirmation will represent a victory for Democrats, who can promote themselves as bipartisan, and a way for the president to make good on a campaign promise at a time when the party faces a host of challenges at home and abroad, including inflation. vertiginous and the Crisis in Ukraine.

Biden had said during his 2020 presidential campaign that he was committed to nominating a black woman for the Supreme Court if elected.

“If I am elected president and have the opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, I will appoint the first black woman to the court. They are required to have representation now, a long time ago,” Biden said in March 2020.

At one point during her Senate confirmation hearings, Jackson became visibly emotional and could be seen wiping away tears when Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who is one of only three black senators, spoke about his path to nomination and the obstacles he encountered. she has had to overcome.

“My parents grew up in a time in this country where black and white kids weren’t allowed to go to school together,” Jackson told Booker after the senator asked what values ​​her parents had instilled in her. “They taught me to work hard. They taught me to have perseverance. They taught me that anything is possible in this great country.”

confirmation process

Throughout the Senate investigation process, Senate Democrats have praised Jackson as an exceptionally qualified innovative candidate whose depth and breadth of experience, including as a federal public defender, would add a valuable and unique perspective to the court.

Jackson was also a commissioner of the US Sentencing Commission and served in the federal district court in DC, as former President Barack Obama’s appointee, before Biden elevated her to the DC circuit last year.

The confirmation hearings included sharp questions and criticism from Republicans, as many sought to portray Jackson as weak on crime and, in a highly charged line of attack, too lenient in sentencing child pornography cases. Jackson and the Democrats strongly rejected the allegations.

Jackson emphasized her concern for public safety and the rule of law, as a judge and as an American. And she argued that she approaches her work impartially and that personal opinions do not play a role.

Republicans called for civility and respect during confirmation hearings, arguing that Democrats did not extend that to Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate investigation process. Kavanaugh faced a sexual assault allegation, which he vehemently denied.

Democrats, however, argued that Republicans crossed a line by distorting Jackson’s record, particularly with regard to sentencing in cases involving child pornography.

A CNN review of the material in question shows that Jackson largely followed common court sentencing practices in these types of cases.

Jackson wins Republican support

In announcing that they would support the nomination, Murkowski and Collins expressed concern about what they described as the politicization of the Supreme Court confirmation process.

Murkowski said he rejects “the corrosive politicization of the Supreme Court nominee review process, which, on both sides of the aisle, gets worse every year and further from reality” in his statement.

Collins said in his statement: “No matter where you are on the ideological spectrum, anyone who has watched several of the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings will come to the conclusion that the process is broken.”

“It was common for senators to give the president, regardless of political party, considerable deference in choosing a candidate,” Collins said.

The Maine Republican said that approach “instilled confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary and helped keep the Court above the political fray,” adding, “This is the approach I plan to continue to use for nominations.” to the Supreme Court because it works against a worrying trend of politicizing the judicial nomination process.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments on Thursday.

CNN’s Maegan Vázquez and Tierney Sneed contributed to this report.

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