Jun 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson as judge on powerful appeals court

Ketanji Brown Jackson
Jackson during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in April. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images/POOL

The Senate voted 53-44 on Monday to confirm judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Why it matters: The court is often viewed as a stepping stone for the Supreme Court, and Jackson is considered a favorite to receive a nomination if a Supreme Court vacancy opens up. President Biden has promised to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

  • Of note: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday that it is "highly unlikely" a Supreme Court nominee picked by Biden would be confirmed in 2024 if Republicans take control of the Senate.

Three Republicans senators — Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — voted with Democrats in favor of Jackson's confirmation.

The big picture: Jackson is filling a position left vacant by Merrick Garland, who served as D.C. circuit court judge prior to becoming attorney general.

  • Jackson graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the law review.
  • She was once a clerk for Justice Stephen Breyer, the oldest justice on the Supreme Court.
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