Senate Confirms Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to Washington’s Federal Appeals Court

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The Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the federal appeals court in Washington.

Jackson’s confirmation received bipartisan support in a 53 to 44 vote, with three Republicans voting alongside the Democrats — Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

“I think she’s qualified. I think I try to be somewhat consistent here. I think she’s qualified for the job. She has a different philosophy than I do,” Graham told reporters.

The D.C. Circuit is considered the nation’s second-most-powerful court and is also viewed as a gateway to serve on the Supreme Court.

“She has all the qualities of a model jurist,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, ahead of her approval. “She is brilliant, thoughtful, collaborative and dedicated to applying the law impartially. For these qualities, she has earned the respect of both sides.”

Jackson graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the law review and is the former law clerk to Justice Stephen G. Breyer, the oldest justice on the Supreme Court.

Jackson served on the U.S. District Court in D.C. since 2013 and was vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. President Joe Biden announced his plan to nominate Jackson to the D.C. Circuit in March as part of his first pool of judicial nominees. Jackson also worked as an assistant federal public defender in D.C. for two years.

Her appointment was backed by several groups who expressed a severe lack of diversity in the more influential courts.

Groups supporting her confirmation cited the need to bring more racial diversity to the federal judiciary.

“Since the establishment of the judiciary, there have only ever been eight Black women to serve on the federal appellate branch,” the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund told senators in a letter supporting Jackson. “Such disparities undermine the legitimacy and integrity of the judicial system.”

She will fill in a vacant position by Merrick Garland, who moved on to become attorney general.

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