Next Friday, April 8, just before spring recess begins in Capitol Hill, Ketanji Brown Jackson will most likely be confirmed as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. That day the House of Representatives will rule, where the Democrats have a majority. The path to that final outcome was paved on Monday after three Republican senators joined the Democratic ranks to place the first black woman in the highest court in the United States.
To the favorable vote already announced last month of the Republican senator from Maine Susan Collins was added that of her colleague from Alaska Lisa Murkowski and that of Mitt Romney from Utah, with which the final vote in the Upper House was 53 positive votes against to 47 negatives, very far from the dream of bipartisan consensus longed for by President Joe Biden.
Murkowski had nothing but praise for Jackson, whether for his “more than demonstrated judicial independence” or “the important perspective he would bring to court.” Jackson, 51 years old, has been vice president of the United States Sentencing Commission (an independent agency that ensures unifying the criteria of federal courts), judge of the District of Columbia (where Washington is located) and of its court of appeals. Romney, for her part, defined the magistrate as “a person of honor.”
The statements of both senators came a few hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee spent more than three hours debating the appointment of Jackson without reaching an agreement on the suitability of the judge. The discussion reached an impasse when its 22 members broke into two equal parts, 11 votes in favor to 11 against. At that point, it was clear that no Republican on the Committee would support Jackson. The chairman of this committee, Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin, showed his disappointment. “For a moment I thought Judge Jackson was going to be the bearer of good news that the Judiciary Committee was changing,” Durbin said. “Unfortunately it has not been like that,” he deplored.
Durbin then expressed his hope that moderate Republican senators Murkowski and Romney would support Jackson so that the vote could be raised to the full Senate, as it happened on Monday, which allowed the judge’s appointment to be overcome. reached in the Judiciary Committee.
This Monday’s vote took place after last week two long and intense days of the appointment process of the first African American in the history of the high court were experienced. For Republicans, Jackson has treated crime with a kid’s glove; she is endorsed by “dubious funding far-left groups,” as veteran Republican Chuck Grassley (Iowa) put it in reference to the organization Demand Justice; she defended terrorists at Guantanamo with a “suspicious” dedication when she was a public defender; and she has shown leniency in prosecuting child pornography cases.
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For the leader of the Republican minority in the Upper House, Senator Mitch McConnell, Jackson’s appointment is part of “an ideological mission to make the Supreme Court more kind and gentle with criminals.” McConnell’s position responds to an attempt to politicize justice in the face of the legislative elections in November, in which the Democrats are playing for control of both houses of parliament.
Jackson’s arrival on the court will not change the ideological composition of the US Supreme Court, which has six conservative-leaning judges (three of them appointed by Donald Trump) and three progressives, a situation that had not occurred in the United States in recent years. eighty years. However, the retirement at the age of 81 of Justice Stephen G. Breyer, a member of the progressive slate, meant that the Biden Administration could replace the judge before the mid-term elections, in which the Democratic Party could be left without the majority required to make that appointment.
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