confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson
to the United States
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday, making her the ninth Black
woman ever to serve on a federal appeals court.
Senators confirmed Jackson to a lifetime seat on the court, which is second only to the U.S. Supreme Court
in terms of power over constitutional and administrative law
. The D.C. Circuit
's jurisdiction includes Congress
and many federal government agencies.
Senators Susan Collins
), Lindsey Graham
(S.C.), and Lisa Murkowski
) were the only Republicans
to join Democrats
in supporting Jackson.
Jackson, 50, has served as a U.S. district judge
, D.C., since 2013. Her confirmation to that position was unanimously approved by the Senate.
Jackson has been mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee by President Joe Biden
if a vacancy arises on that court; Biden has pledged to make his first Supreme Court nominee a Black woman, and the D.C. Circuit has served as a springboard for several Supreme Court justices.
Three of the nine current Supreme Court justices were previously on the D.C. Circuit: John Roberts
, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh, with former Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia also making the jump from the D.C. Circuit to the Supreme Court.
Progressive judicial advocacy groups, such as Demand Justice, have been vocal in their support for Jackson, citing the much-needed diversity
she will bring to the federal bench. In addition to being one of the few Black women
to be confirmed as a federal appeals court judge, Jackson is only the ninth public defender in history
to be appointed to the position.
“Judge Jackson’s confirmation will usher in a new era for a court system that Trump and McConnell have stacked in favor of the wealthy and powerful,” said Chris Kang, chief counsel for Demand Justice.
Ironically, Jackson previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
, whom groups such as Demand Justice are urging to retire so that Biden can fill his seat with a Democrat-backed nominee.
Democrats currently control the Senate, but that could change after the 2022 elections
, and progressive groups are concerned that if Breyer does not resign soon, a repeat of what happened in 2016 could occur.
That was when Republicans controlled the Senate and blocked President Barack Obama
's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland
for nearly a year in order to preserve a Supreme Court seat for a future Republican president, who turned out to be Donald Trump
, who filled that seat with Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Breyer, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton
in 1994, has made no indication that he intends to resign.