The Senate is expected to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court on Thursday, ending a historic nomination process riddled with acrimony even for a justice who will not alter the court’s current conservative tilt.
Jackson, who looks set to receive bipartisan support, will also be the first former public defender to sit on the court. It’s a career path that Democrats say would add much-needed perspective to the High Court, but Republicans have exploited to accuse Jackson of being soft on crime.
Jackson will take the seat of Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who plans to retire when his term ends in June. By then, the 6-3 Tory majority is expected to hand down major rulings on abortion and gun rights that could fuel debate over the High Court’s legitimacy. On the horizon, cases regarding election laws and the redistricting of Congress after the 2020 census loom.
Senate Democrats have remained focused on Jackson’s upbringing and background as a federal judge and repeatedly reiterated how she stood at the precipice of history: a Supreme Court first as Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black man, or judge Sandra Day O’Connor. , the first wife.
“She will be the first, and I have no doubt in my mind that she will pave the way for others in the future,” Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said in the Senate on Wednesday. “It is a key feature of a healthy and vibrant democracy, when Americans from all backgrounds come to court, they must trust that those wearing the robes have the ability to walk in their own shoes, to see and to understand their side of the story.”