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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks after being nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, D.C., on February 25, 2022. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Jackson's SCOTUS Nomination Clears Deadlocked Senate Judiciary Committee

The full upper chamber voted 53-47—with the support of three Republicans—to advance the federal judge's historic high court candidacy to a final Senate floor vote.

Brett Wilkins

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's historic nomination to the United States Supreme Court cleared a minor hurdle Monday after the U.S. Senate overcame a deadlocked Judiciary Committee via a procedural vote in the upper chamber, where her confirmation is all but guaranteed.

"I dream of a day where Black women don't have to be overqualified, jump through hoops, and face misogynoir just to get to the jobs they already deserve."

The Judiciary Committee voted 11-11 on advancing Jackson's high court candidacy to a full Senate vote, meaning that for the first time since 1853 the upper chamber had to hold vote on discharging her nomination from the panel. The full Senate subsequently voted 53-47 to discharge the nomination.

Three Republican senators who have declared their support for Jackson's nomination—Susan Collins of Maine, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney of Utah—joined all 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus in voting to discharge the federal judge's nomination from the Judiciary Committee.

The Washington Post reports a final vote on Jackson's confirmation is expected to occur on the Senate floor Thursday or Friday.

Summer Lee, a democratic socialist member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives running for Congress, tweeted that "despite the GOP's efforts, Ketanji Brown Jackson will now be considered for the SCOTUS by the full Senate."

"I dream of a day where Black women don't have to be overqualified, jump through hoops, and face misogynoir just to get to the jobs they already deserve," she added.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement following the split committee vote that "it is obvious listening to Republicans that their objections are entirely unserious. Many who label Judge Jackson as radical and far-left today conveniently ignore that she received bipartisan support not once, not twice, but three times in this chamber, including by voice vote."

"They also fail to mention that Judge Jackson commands strong support from across the political spectrum," Schumer continued, "from conservative judges, to the nation's largest police unions, to a long list of former colleagues who say she is nothing short of the best of the best."

"Republicans in committee have ignored, in other words, the plain facts of Judge Jackson's record and that is deeply disappointing," he added. "Judge Jackson is a brilliant and a historic nominee—and her elevation as the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court should bring the Senate together."

Mini Timmaraju, president of the reproductive rights advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement that "it's insulting that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee sought to put up another hurdle to impede the confirmation of the first Black woman to the court by refusing to vote to advance her nomination out of committee today."

"However, after the full Senate's... vote to discharge Judge Jackson's nomination from the committee, we look forward to being one step closer to having a justice on the court that we can count on to uphold equal justice for all."

Last week, more than 50 civil society groups joined the chorus of Democratic condemnation of what they called Republican senators' "baseless and harmful attacks" on Jackson's record as a judge and a public defender during her Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings.

Dan Goldberg, legal director at Alliance for Justice Action, asked, "How does any senator go back to their constituents and explain why they voted against her?"

"People definitely are going to remember who was on the right side and who played petty partisan politics with this historic nomination," he told The Daily Beast.

At a March 25 Marengo, Iowa town hall for Sen. Chuck Grassley—the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee—one voter said the GOP members "just beat [Jackson] up really badly" in an "appalling" way "so they could get TV time." 

"I'm not going to dispute what you said, because I think you described it accurately," Grassley replied.

Daily Beast politics reporter Eleanor Clift mused that "we probably won't remember the names of the Republicans who performatively voted against the eminently qualified Judge Jackson's confirmation."

"But 30 years from now," she added, "we will be talking about the first Black woman on the court, her record, her rulings, and how she opened the door for others to follow."


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