US President Joe Biden has nominated federal appeals court Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme court, the White House said on Friday, paving the way for a historic confirmation process for the first Black woman to sit in the country’s highest court.
In Jackson, Biden delivers on the campaign promise to diversify a court that has constituted entirely of white men for almost two centuries.
Biden called Jackson a “proven consensus builder” who has ”a pragmatic understanding that the law must work for the American people.” “She strives to be fair, to get it right, to do justice,” the president said.
Since Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, who will be retiring at the end of the term this summer, Biden has conducted a rigorous search process to identify his replacement.
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“Biden sought a candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law. He also sought a nominee — much like Justice Breyer — who is wise, pragmatic, and has a deep understanding of the Constitution as an enduring charter of liberty,” the White House press release said.
“And the President sought an individual who is committed to equal justice under the law and who understands the profound impact that the Supreme Court’s decisions have on the lives of the American people,” it said.
Incidentally, Jackson, 51, had once worked as one of Breyer’s law clerks early in her career.
She attended Harvard as an undergraduate and for law school, and served on the US Sentencing Commission, the agency that develops federal sentencing policy, before becoming a federal judge in 2013.
Jackson comes with a wealth of experience in varied capacities – as a federal appellate judge, a federal district court judge, a member of the US Sentencing Commission, an attorney in private practice, and as a federal public defender.
She has been confirmed by the Senate with votes from Republicans as well as Democrats three times, the White House said.
Currently serving on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, Jackson has also served as a United States District Judge for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin praised Jackson’s selection and said his committee would begin a “formal investigation” of her nomination right away with the hope of hearings in the coming weeks and a confirmation vote “as soon as possible.”