In its 232-year history, a Black woman has never served on the United States Supreme Court. That all changed at approximately 2:30 p.m. ET, on April 7th, 2022, when judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice.
The groundbreaking decision was delivered by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian woman to ascend to the role, who presided over the chamber for the history-making 53-47 vote. Harris said it was an “extraordinary day” upon leaving the Senate floor.
There was a delay in the process as Congress members waited for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul to verbally deliver his vote. When Paul finally showed up to the chamber, he voted “Nay.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer celebrated the historic nature of the nomination. “In our nation’s history 115 individuals have been confirmed by this body to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Of those 108 have been white men, only four have been women, only two have been African American,” Schumer said. “But Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first African American woman ever to hold the title of Justice. Think about the impact that will have on our democracy.”
During the vote, Jackson joined President Joe Biden and other White House staff in the Roosevelt room to watch the results.
Not only is Jackson the first Black woman to be nominated and confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, she is also the first former public defender and the first Florida-raised judge to serve on the highest court. Her win also marks the first time three justices of color will serve together, joining Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas, and the first time four women justices will be on the bench, joining Sotomayor, Amy Coney Barrett and Elena Kagan.
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