Senate approves Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the federal court of appeals in D.C.

On June 14th, the Senate approved the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Harvard Law student, to the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia.

This is the first United States appellate court nomination under Joe Biden’s presidency. Jackson received a bipartisan 53 to 44 vote. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Susan Collins of Maine are the three Republicans that joined Democrats in the confirmation vote that will fill the seat vacated by now Attorney General Merrick Garland. Three of the nine current members of the Supreme Court – Chief Justice Roberts, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh – have served on the D.C. appeals court before being appointed to the highest court of the land [CBS].

Judge Jackson, at just 50 years old, is a top contender for the Supreme Court, should a vacancy arise during Biden’s presidency. In a 2020 June news conference, then former Vice President Joe Biden hinted at nominating a black woman to the Supreme Court stating, “We are putting together a list of African American women who are qualified and have the experience to be on the court. I am not going to release that until we go further down the line in vetting them as well.” [The Washington Post]

Democrats have begun to put pressure on Justice Stephen G. Breyer, one of the three judges Jackson was a law clerk for, to retire. Freshman congressman Mondaire Jones of New York voiced his opinion on Justice Breyer. “There’s no question that Justice Breyer, for whom I have great respect, should retire at the end of this term,” he said. “My goodness, have we not learned our lesson?” [The Guardian] On a CNN interview, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez when asked whether Breyer should retire responded, “I would probably lean towards yes. But, yes, you’re asking me this question, so I would give more thought to it, but I’m inclined to say yes.” [The Recount]. Although pressure looms, Justice Breyer has not made it clear that he intends to retire soon.


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