Show caption If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve as a supreme court justice. Photograph: Tom Williams/AFP/Getty Images Ketanji Brown Jackson ‘Historic day’: Democrats praise Biden supreme court pick Ketanji Brown Jackson Some Republicans are less enthused, claiming that race and gender shouldn’t play a role in the nomination Gloria Oladipo @gaoladipo Fri 25 Feb 2022 19.09 GMT Share on Facebook
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Democrats enthusiastically welcomed Joe Biden’s supreme court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, who if confirmed would serve as the first Black woman on the United States’ highest court.
As reactions poured in from both sides of the political aisle, Barack Obama shared his congratulations about the news of Jackson’s nomination.
“I want to congratulate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on her nomination to the Supreme Court,” said Obama in a statement. “Judge Jackson has already inspired young Black women like my daughters to set their sights higher, and her confirmation will help them believe they can be anything they want to be.”
The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, shared his support via Twitter: “With her exceptional qualifications, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be a Justice who will uphold the constitution and protect the rights of all Americans, including the voiceless and vulnerable.”
Senate majority whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, who is also chair of the Senate judiciary committee, also praised Jackson’ selection. He said: “To be the first to make history in our nation you need to have an exceptional life story. Judge Jackson’s achievements are well known to the Senate judiciary committee as we approved her to the DC circuit less than a year ago with bipartisan support. We will begin immediately to move forward on her nomination with the careful, fair, and professional approach she and America are entitled to.”
South Carolina representative James Clyburn, who helped get Biden to make a pledge for a Black woman supreme court nominee, also celebrated Jackson’s nomination, writing in a statement: “Ketanji Brown Jackson, an outstanding judge on the DC circuit court of appeals, has been nominated by president Joe Biden to become the first African American woman on the US supreme court. This is a glass ceiling that took far too long to shatter, and I commend President Biden for taking a sledgehammer to it. I congratulate Judge Jackson and offer my full support during the confirmation process and beyond.”
“This is a historic day for women, for BIPOC representation, and for our Judiciary,” tweeted Florida representative and co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus Lois Frankel.
Progressive Massachusetts representative Ayanna Pressley also added her voice, tweeting: “Bold. Principled. Qualified. Dedicated to justice. POTUS has met the moment with the historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and we must have swift confirmation.”
“233 years. That’s how long we have waited to have a Black woman nominated to the supreme court,” wrote Missouri representative Cori Bush about Jackson’s nomination. “There are no words to describe how my soul is moved by witnessing her nomination.”
Progressive advocacy groups similarly shared their congratulations.
“We need a justice on the bench who will uphold reproductive freedom. This historic nomination is a chance to shape the court for decades to come,” tweeted the pro-choice group Naral Pro-Choice, alluding to important abortion cases that the supreme court has heard recently, including the Texas abortion ban and an upcoming case that will decide the fate of Roe v Wade.
Some Republicans seemed notably less joyous about Jackson’s nomination, following on their complaints that race and gender should not play a role in the selection process despite similar commitments from past Republican presidents.
“If media reports are accurate, and Judge Jackson has been chosen as the supreme court nominee to replace Justice Breyer, it means the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again,” tweeted South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, adding that Democrats potentially blocked the nomination of Judge J Michelle Childs.
Childs, a judge in the US district court for the district of South Carolina, had notable bipartisan support from her state’s congressional delegation due to her non-Ivy league education and judicial reputation. But she had less support from some progressives, who questioned her work at a private law firm defending employers accused of race and gender discrimination as well as sexual harassment.
Graham previously voted to confirm Jackson to the DC circuit court last June.
In his statement, Clyburn, a close Biden ally, also acknowledged Childs as a potential Biden pick, writing: “Although not the finalist, Judge Childs’ inclusion among the three that were interviewed continues her record of remarkable contributions to making this country’s greatest accessible and affordable for all. And, she continues to make all South Carolinians proud.”
Senator Susan Collins of Maine, another Republican senator who confirmed Jackson to the DC circuit court, also released a statement on Jackson’s nomination, writing: “Ketanji Brown Jackson is an experienced federal judge with impressive academic and legal credentials. I will conduct a thorough vetting of Judge Jackson’s nomination and look forward to her public hearing before the Senate judiciary committee and to meeting with her in my office.”
Republican senator Mitt Romney of Utah, a potential yes vote for Jackson’s nomination, also released a statement on her selection: “One of my most serious constitutional responsibilities as a senator is to provide advice and consent on a supreme court nomination, and I believe our next justice must faithfully apply the law and our constitution – impartially and regardless of policy preferences.
“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is an experienced jurist, and I know her historic nomination will inspire many. I look forward to meeting in person with Judge Jackson, thoroughly reviewing her record and testimony, and evaluating her qualifications during this process.”