The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings for four days about Jackson’s potential confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. If she is confirmed, the federal judge will be the first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice.
“Not a single [Supreme Court] justice has been a Black woman. You, Judge Jackson, can be the first,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said Monday (March 21). “It’s not easy being the first. Often you have to be the best. In some ways, the bravest. Many are not prepared to face that kind of heat, that kind of scrutiny, that ordeal and the glare of the national spotlight.”
The Democratic Illinois senator also noted during the first day of confirmation hearings that the Supreme Court’s make-up has “never really reflected the nation.” With Jackson’s nomination, Durbin said, “We can be confident that the court, its role and its decisions will be more understandable to the American public.”
Jackson is Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee, fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail to nominate a Black woman to the court if given the opportunity.
At her official nomination ceremony last month, Jackson told the president, “I am especially grateful for the care that you have taken in discharging your constitutional duty in service of our democracy with all that is going on in the world today.”
The 51-year-old judge is expected to deliver opening remarks at her hearing later today followed by two days of questioning from senators on Tuesday (March 22) and Wednesday (March 23). On the final day, senators will hear testimonies about Jackson’s experience and professional history.
The Senate, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, will then vote on Jackson’s confirmation, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote if necessary.
So far, Democrats have applauded Jackson’s experience.
“Let’s not forget, you have nine years of judicial experience, more than four other justices currently on the court prior to their confirmations. Not that we’re counting,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said on Monday.
On the other hand, some Republicans have accused Jackson of being soft on crime due to her experience as a criminal defense attorney.
“Her supporters look at her résumé and deduce a special empathy for criminals. I guess that means that government prosecutors and innocent crime victims start each trial at a disadvantage,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said during a recent speech, according to The New York Times.
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