The US Senate on Thursday voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Jackson was President Joe Biden's pick to succeed Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced retirement earlier this year.
After contentious confirmation hearings in the Judiciary Committee, Jackson's nomination hit a tie that was split along party lines, before the nomination went to the full Senate. The Senate, near split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, easily voted through her nomination after all 48 Democrats voted to confirm Jackson along with two independents and three Republicans also voted to confirm.
The final count was 53 to 47. Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski all voted with the Democrats.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the last senator to cast a final vote while the chamber waited for him to arrive before gaveling. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma voted from the GOP cloakroom for not wearing ties as required by Senate rules on the floor.
Ahead of the final confirmation vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it's a "joyous, momentous, groundbreaking day" and called Jackson a "remarkable" jurist. "In the 233-year history of the Supreme Court, never, never has a Black woman held the title of Justice. Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first and I believe the first of more to come," Schumer added.
The Senate completed a procedural vote earlier Thursday to limit debate and break a filibuster to advance Jackson's Supreme Court nomination toward final confirmation. The procedural vote required only a simple majority threshold and was approved by a tally of 53 to 47. Collins, Romney, and Murkowski joined the Senate Democrats in voting yes.
It was during the confirmation hearings in the Judiciary Committee that GOP senators grilled Jackson on her lenient sentences for child pornographers and took issue with some of her other cases, as well as her service on the board of an elite prep school in Washington, DC.
Biden's choice of Jackson came after many promises the president made to nominate a black woman to the court. Jackson becomes the third black member of the court after Thurgood Marshall, confirmed under President Lyndon Johnson, and Clarence Thomas, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991.
Jackson joins Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, both of whom were nominated by President Donald Trump during his term in office.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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