We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her – President Joe Biden
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed Thursday to become the 116th Supreme Court Justice — here are key things to know about how today’s vote unfolded:
- Jackson was confirmed by a vote of 53 yeas and 47 nays. Three GOP senators crossed party lines and voted for her: Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
- Jackson will be the first ever Black woman to sit on the bench. Biden had said during his 2020 presidential campaign that he was committed to nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court if elected.
- Ahead of the final vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the moment a “joyous, momentous, groundbreaking day.” Schumer went on to say, “In the 233-year history of the Supreme Court, never, never has a Black woman held the title of Justice. Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first, and I believe the first of more to come.”
- The Senate chamber was packed for the Senate vote, with most senators seated at their desks. The vote initially proceeded quickly as a result, but was later held open for some time when it became clear that GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the only senator who had not voted. The chamber waited for him to arrive and vote before it was gaveled closed.
- Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to serve as vice president, presided over the chamber during the historic vote in her capacity as president of the Senate.
- Democratic senators erupted in applause after Jackson’s confirmation was announced. Romney also joined in on the applause.
What comes next:
- President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and soon-to-be justice Jackson will deliver remarks tomorrow at 12:15 p.m. ET on the South Lawn of the White House.
- Jackson will be sworn in as an associate justice after Justice Stephen Breyer retires at the end of the Court’s term, which is expected to be sometime in the summer.
- The Court is expected to hold onto its right-wing tilt, even with the addition of a liberal justice.
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama congratulated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for being confirmed to the Supreme Court, becoming the first Black woman to sit on the highest court.
“I was so moved to see Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed this afternoon. Like so many of you, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride—a sense of joy—to know that this deserving, accomplished Black woman will help chart our nation’s course,” the former first lady wrote in a post on Instagram.