Ketanji Brown Jackson becomes first Black woman to serve on US Supreme Court
'This is a great moment for Judge Jackson, but it is even great a greater moment for America,' says Senator Chuck Schumer
The 53-47 vote for US President Joe Biden’s top court pick saw three Republicans -- Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney -- buck their party in support of Jackson's nomination.
Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the chamber was in the midst of "one of the great moments of American history."
"At the time of our Constitution’s ratification, in most states, you had to be a white male Protestant landowner to be considered part of American society," he said. "Today, we are taking a giant, bold and important step on the well-trodden path to fulfilling our country's founding promise."
"This is a great moment for Judge Jackson, but it is even great a greater moment for America, as we rise to a more perfect union," he added.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate's ranking Republican, however, continued the GOP's charges against Jackson, accusing her of having a track record of "judicial activism."
"Her judicial record is full of cases where a judge Jackson ruled like a policymaker implementing personal biases instead of a judge, following the text wherever it led," he said.
Jackson staunchly defended her record during marathon confirmation hearings, maintaining her record of judicial neutrality amid Republican criticism.
Jackson said she is "acutely aware" that the power she wields as a US judge is "limited," maintaining that it is her long-standing conviction to try cases from a "position of neutrality.'
"I am trying, in every case, to stay in my lane," Jackson said on her second day of confirmation hearings.
Under questioning from Senator Chuck Grassley, the Judiciary Committee's top Republican, Jackson said her record "clearly demonstrates that I am an independent jurist," who is "impartial."
"I don't think that anyone can look at my record and say that it is pointing in one direction or another; that it is supporting one viewpoint or another," she said. "I am doing the work, and have done the work for the past 10 years, that judges do to rule impartially and to stay within the boundaries of our proper judicial role."
She also pushed back on criticism from some Republicans that she has been soft on child pornographers, saying, "as a mother and a judge who has had to deal with these cases, I was thinking that nothing could be further from the truth."
Biden nominated Jackson in February following Justice Stephen Breyer's announcement that he would retire at the end of the court’s current term.
Jackson is a graduate of Harvard and its law school, and served as a public defender before serving on the US District Court for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021.
Biden nominated her to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2021 and she received Senate confirmation to sit on that court the same year.