Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson, First Black Woman to be US Supreme Court Judge

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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation was hailed as a "historic moment" by US President Joe Biden, who pledged to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court during his presidential campaign.

WASHINGTON: Ketanji Brown Jackson has become the first black woman to be confirmed as a judge of the United States Supreme Court, following a historic Senate confirmation on Thursday.

Jackson, who was nominated by President Joe Biden, formerly served on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (DC) circuit and as a district court judge in DC from 2013 to 2021.

After a confirmation process that saw Democrats praise her qualifications and accept the need to make the court more inclusive while Republicans interrogated her on her jurisprudence in a manner that many regarded as having racial overtones, the Senate voted 53:47 to confirm Jackson.

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During his presidential campaign in February 2020, Biden pledged to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court. This occurred against a backdrop of disputes over the criminal justice system's ingrained racial prejudice, a lack of diversity and representation in the courts, and a conservative shift in jurisprudence.

Six conservative or right-wing judges (selected by Republican administrations) and three liberal judges make up the Supreme Court (and were nominated by Democratic administrations). Justice Stephen G Breyer, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court in 1994, announced his retirement in January, leaving a vacancy for Biden to fill.

Jackson previously worked as Breyer's clerk. Jackson, a Harvard Law School graduate, has also worked as a public defender and as vice-chair of the US Sentencing Commission, a bipartisan agency aimed at reducing sentencing disparities. According to a White House statement, she will be the first former public defender to serve as a Supreme Court judge.

Republicans slammed Obama's choice to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, claiming that the nomination should be based on merit and judicial skill rather than colour or gender. In February, Biden responded to the criticism by saying that the person he nominates will have "extraordinary qualifications, character, and integrity". "And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the Supreme Court. It is long-overdue".

So far, the Supreme Court has only had two Black judges: Thurgood Marshall, who retired in 1991, and Clarence Thomas, who is currently on the bench. Jackson is also just the sixth woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court; three women are now on the bench, and she will be the fourth, making it the most gender-balanced court in history.

Political experts say that during the confirmation process, Democrats delivered a message to their supporters about their dedication to the causes of justice and diversity, but Republicans attempted to exploit white people's worries and prejudices, frequently resorting to conspiracy theories.

The court's balance remains unchanged as a result of Jackson's nomination. But it comes at a crucial time, when the Supreme Court is hearing cases on some of America's most divisive issues, including gun rights, affirmative action, and, perhaps most importantly, abortion, where the jurisprudence that followed the landmark Roe vs Wade decision of 1973, which upheld abortion rights and prohibited excessive restrictions until fetal viability, is at stake.

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