Washington, April 8: For the first time in the US Supreme Court’s 233-year history, the Senate has confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, an African-American women, to serve as a Justice in the nine-member bench of the apex court.
The confirmation came following a 53-47 vote on Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Only three Republicans joined the Democrats and independents in supporting the 51-year-old Jackson.
Since June 2021, she has sat on the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, often referred to as the nation’s second most powerful court.
In February, President Joe Biden had announced Jackson’s nomination to succeed liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who will retire this summer.
Jackson will not be sworn in until after Breyer leaves the post.
Biden and Jackson watched the Senate vote, which fell largely along party lines, from the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Thursday afternoon.
“Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation,” Biden tweeted with a photo of him taking a selfie with the judge.
“We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America,” he said. “She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honoured to share this moment with her.”
The White House has scheduled an event for Friday to celebrate the confirmation.
While Senate Democrats have praised Jackson’s qualifications, as well as the historic nature of her nomination, most Republicans have cast doubt on her past rulings.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted against the nomination, voiced concern about what he saw as a “long and disturbing record of using judicial activism to go soft on crime”.
It was one of Biden’s major campaign promises to fill a potential Supreme Court vacancy with an African-American woman.
Since the Supreme Court was established in the US in 1789, 115 justices have served on the bench. Of them, 108 were white men.
The Justices have life tenure and can serve until they die, resign, retire, or are impeached and removed from office.
Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Miami, Jackson received her law degree from Harvard University and graduated cum laude in 1996.
Earlier in her legal career, she worked as an assistant federal public defender in D.C. and served as vice-chair of the US Sentencing Commission for four years.
Jackson served more than eight years as a judge on the US District Court for the District of Columbia before being elevated to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
This year, the Supreme Court will rule on cases involving a series of major issues, including abortion, affirmative action and gun control.
Court watchers have argued Jackson is expected to vote very similarly to Breyer and her ascension won’t change the Supreme Court’s ideological balance, in which conservatives have a 6-3 majority over liberals.
The Supreme Court is the final appellate court of the US judicial system, with the power to review and overturn lower court decisions, and is also generally the final interpreter of federal law, including the country’s constitution.