Biden Nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson as First Black Woman Supreme Court Justice

Jackson, 51, is slated to take the seat of Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced his retirement in January.

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Biden Nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson as First Black Woman Supreme Court Justice
Photo:Photo by Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images (Getty Images)

Today, President Joe Biden announced that he will nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, fulfilling his campaign promise to do so. The The Washington Post, The New York Times, Politico, and CNN’s Jake Tapper, all reported Jackson was the pick before Biden confirmed it on Twitter just aftera 10am.

Jackson, 51, is slated to take the seat of Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced in January that he would retire if a successor was confirmed by the end of this term. Jackson previously clerked for Justice Breyer.

A former public defender who served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Jackson is currently a judge on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. (Justice Brett Kavanaugh was elevated from this same court in 2018.) There had been much speculation about her being the chosen nominee, with The Washington Post reporting on February 22 that three people briefed on Biden’s selection process expected that he would nominate Jackson rather than the other two top candidates, Leondra Kruger and Michelle Childs.

Here are some reactions to the news, including anecdotes about Jackson:

…And a lack of dirt about Jackson won’t stop people like Senator Lindsey Graham from crying wolf.

KBJ will be nominated. What happens next?

For her confirmation to go through, Jackson will need a simple majority of votes in the Senate—which Democrats control thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.

If confirmed, she’d become the third Black justice in history after Thurgood Marshall, who was on the court from 1967 to 1991, and Clarence Thomas, who replaced Marshall after his retirement and has served on the court since 1991. There has never been more than one Black justice on the court at the same time, and of course, never a Black woman. There have also never been more than three women on the court at once.

Will shit still hit the fan? (Yes.)

Her confirmation wouldn’t change the ideological balance of the court—which will be a 6-3 conservative supermajority for the foreseeable future—but we can still expect the confirmation hearings to be a mess.

The mess, of course, will be due to the several Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee (like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Tom Cotton) auditioning for president. Oh, and we can’t forget rampant misogynoir. Even Biden re-stating his pledge to nominate a Black woman prompted Republican Senators to melt down. So, buckle up folks.

This is a breaking news post and will be updated.

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