WASHINGTON – When Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer, a 51-year-old mother of two who grew up in Miami will make history as the first Supreme Court justice from Florida and the first Black woman.
In the meantime, Ketanji Brown Jackson is still a judge in the federal appeals court in Washington. The Senate voted 53 to 47 to confirm her on Thursday. Kamala Harris, the country’s first Black woman to serve as vice president presided over the vote. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott voted against her confirmation.
“Judge Jackson’s record of weak sentencing is gravely concerning & disqualifying for a seat on SCOTUS. She’s shown she won’t stand up for the rule of law. That’s unacceptable & why I cannot vote to confirm her,” Scott tweeted.
After the nomination in February, Rubio released a statement saying he was not going to support any nominee that believed it appropriate to create rights instead of interpreting and defending the Constitution as written.
“President Biden wrongly believes the Supreme Court should act as a legislative branch,” Rubio said.
There were three Republicans who did not vote along party lines. They were Senators Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins. Jackson watched the vote from the White House and celebrated with President Joe Biden.
“We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America,” Biden tweeted.
Jackson will have to attend an investiture ceremony and take the judicial oath of office. Six conservatives will still dominate the Supreme Court. Jackson will likely find allies in Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who were both born in New York.
Jackson will be the third Black justice in the history of the Supreme Court after Clarence Thomas, 73, and the late Thurgood Marshall. She will also be the sixth woman. President Ronald Reagan appointed the first in 1981: Sandra Day O’Connor, now 92.
With Justice Amy Coney Barrett, 50, Sotomayor, 67, and Kagan, 61, it will also be the first time the Supreme Court will have four women on the bench.
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Torres contributed to this report from Miami.