Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson advanced one step closer to serving on the U.S. Supreme Court with a key U.S. Senate committee Monday advancing her nomination for a full floor vote later this week.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve on the highest court in the country is expected to pass the narrowly-Democratic-controlled Senate, making her the first African American female Supreme Court justice in U.S. history.
Senate Democrats praised Jackson’s breadth of experience ahead of the vote on her nomination, calling her one of the most qualified nominees in the history of the Supreme Court.
“Justice Jackson will bring to the Supreme Court, the highest level of skill, integrity, civility and grace,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin said Monday. “She has impeccable qualifications. We don’t agree on much in the Senate but not one senator on this committee has questioned that she is well qualified.”
The 51-year-old Jackson served as a judge for almost a decade and has experience clerking at every level of the federal system, including in the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she is nominated to replace. Jackson would be the first justice to have experience as a federal public defender.
“These critical experiences bring a missing perspective to the court,” Durbin noted. “It is truly unfortunate that some are trying to use them as reasons to vote against her. These baseless attacks are belied by the broad support for Judge Jackson’s nomination from across the political spectrum. Law enforcement, former federal prosecutors, Republican-appointed judges, and even more have vouched for her intellect, her intelligence, her ability to build consensus and her evenhandedness.”
Jackson garnered no Republican votes in an 11-11 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. But Democrats were still able to advance her vote to the floor using Senate procedures.
There was widespread Republican criticism of Jackson for her past sentencing of child pornographers. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has previously voted for Biden judicial nominees, said Monday, “I’m inclined to vote for judges of the other side, but this choice of Judge Jackson was really embraced by the most radical people in the Democratic movement to the exclusion of everybody else.”
Other Senate Republicans have argued Jackson did not adequately define her judicial philosophy.
Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the committee, said Monday, “She and I have fundamental, different views on the role of judges and the role that they should play in our system of government. Because of those disagreements, I can’t support her nomination.”
The Senate is expected to begin debate and to hold a final vote on her nomination before leaving for the Easter holiday recess later this week.