Biden to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Senate Office Building on April 28, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Senate Office Building on April 28, 2021, in Washington, D.C. | Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

President Joe Biden has nominated a federal judge to fill an impending vacancy on the United States Supreme Court who, if confirmed, would become the first black woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice.

The White House announced the president’s intention to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to the Supreme Court on Friday. If confirmed, she will replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who plans to retire at the end of this term.

“A former clerk for Justice Breyer, Judge Jackson has broad experience across the legal profession — as a federal appellate judge, a federal district court judge, a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an attorney in private practice, and as a federal public defender,” the White House noted in a statement. “Judge Jackson has been confirmed by the Senate with votes from Republicans as well as Democrats three times.”

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The White House praised Jackson as “an exceptionally qualified nominee as well as a historic nominee, and the Senate should move forward with a fair and timely hearing and confirmation.”

A native of Washington, D.C., and the daughter of parents who attended segregated schools, Jackson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. She lives in Washington with her husband and two children.

When formally announced, Jackson’s nomination will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where members will decide whether to advance her nomination to the full Senate. Jackson only needs the support of a simple majority of senators to secure confirmation. Currently, the Senate has a 50-50 split between the two parties, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote in favor of the Democrats.

As the White House statement noted, Jackson has received support from Republican senators in the past. Last year, when Biden nominated her to serve on the influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, three Republicans voted with all Democrats in favor of her confirmation: Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

As a presidential candidate, Biden announced his intention to nominate an African American woman to serve on the Supreme Court should he win the 2020 presidential election and a vacancy on the Supreme Court were to pop up. Collins, one of the three senators who supported Jackson’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, expressed concern that imposing such a litmus test on Supreme Court nominees “adds to the further perception that the court is a political institution like Congress when it is not supposed to be.”

“What President Biden did was, as a candidate, make this pledge, and that helped politicize the entire nomination process,” Collins said. 

Graham, on the other hand, explained that he was “in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America,” signaling that he did not view Biden’s litmus test as a problem.

“Whether you like it or not, Joe Biden said, ‘I’m going to pick an African American woman to serve on the Supreme Court.’ I believe there are plenty of qualified African American women, conservative and liberal, that could go onto the court,” Graham added.

Interest groups on both sides of the aisle quickly reacted to Jackson’s nomination. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List, released a statement citing Jackson’s nomination as evidence that “Joe Biden is fulfilling his promise to only appoint justices who support the Roe v. Wade regime of abortion on demand up to birth — a policy so extreme only a handful of countries in the world hold it, including North Korea and China.”

“Ketanji Brown Jackson is backed by many of America’s most radical pro-abortion groups,” she said. “She is on record opposing free speech rights of pro-life advocates pleading to save lives outside abortion centers and supporting the false claim that abortion is ‘health care.’ We have no doubt she will work with the most pro-abortion administration in history to enshrine abortion on demand nationwide in the law.”

Susan B. Anthony List pointed to a 2001 amicus brief Jackson authored in support of a Massachusetts law creating a “buffer zone” around abortion clinics to “prevent pro-life sidewalk counselors from approaching to speak with women” seeking abortions as a cause for concern for the pro-life movement.

Carrie Severino of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network sent out a Twitter thread asserting that “With the intended nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, Joe Biden has made it clear that his top priority is paying back the left-wing dark money network that spent over one billion dollars to help elect him and Senate Democrats.”

She specifically mentioned that “the Arabella Advisors Network has been increasingly vocal about the fact that Jackson was their preferred nominee — the one they are sure will rubber stamp their left-wing political agendas from the bench.”

“Today, Joe Biden is delivering exactly who they demanded,” she lamented. “Expect to hear from Biden and his supporters that Judge Jackson is ‘in the mainstream.’ That’s liberal-speak for a judge who will deviate from the text of the constitution and statutes without hesitation to ensure the Left’s preferred policy outcomes.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America, a pro-abortion group, expressed gratitude for Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, tweeting, “We need a justice on the bench who will uphold reproductive freedom.”

Planned Parenthood Action, another pro-abortion advocacy group, sent out a tweet proclaiming: “This nomination arrives as our rights are in crisis, and we believe Judge Jackson will bring a commitment to the court to protect our individual liberties, including reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights.”

Jackson’s nomination to the court will not dramatically change the ideological balance of the court, which currently consists of six justices appointed to the bench by Republicans and three appointed by Democrats.

Jackson would become Biden’s first Supreme Court appointment, joining two justices appointed by Democratic former President Barack Obama, three justices appointed by Republican former President Donald Trump, two justices appointed by Republican former President George W. Bush and one justice appointed by Republican former President George H.W. Bush.

In addition to becoming the first African American woman on the Supreme Court, Jackson will become the fourth female Supreme Court justice and the third African American Supreme Court justice if confirmed.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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