Senate Judiciary Committee sets possible April 4 on Supreme Court confirmation vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Senate Judiciary Committee sets possible April 4 on Supreme Court confirmation vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

BCN Staff – March 28, 2022 — After four days of hearings in a racially charged atmosphere at the U.S. Capitol, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to move forward on April 4 with the confirmation of U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Democratic leaders, including Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said they hope to confirm Brown before Congress’ mid-April recess. Last week, several Republican senators attacked Jackson’s integrity, judicial record, and legal background in a televised, circus-like atmosphere that introduced the Black female jurist ever nominated to the nation’s highest court to the American people.

Durbin said the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first business conference (March 28) today at 3 p.m. on Judge Jackson’s nomination at what is known as a “markup meeting.” “The Committee will meet in Executive Session to consider Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court this Monday,” said Durbin.

Following Durbin’s meeting, Republican minority members sitting on the Judiciary Committee can hold up Jackson’s nomination for at least a week. Afterwards, Durbin can call for a vote by the Committee, which includes 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans. If the vote is deadlock with a 11-11 tie, then Durbin as can ask Senate Majority Leader Dick Schumer to bring Jackson’s nomination directly to the Senate floor for a final vote.

If that occurs, Jackson is likely to be nominated by the U.S. Senate chamber that is split 50-50 by Democrats and Republicans. In the case of a tie, Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, has the deciding and final vote.

After the final day of hearings last week on Jackson’s nomination to be an associate justice on the Supreme Court, Durbin rebutted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s and other Senate Republican’s explanation for opposing this exceptional nominee—including accusations that she supports court packing, declined to answer questions on her judicial philosophy, and that she is “soft on crime.”

“It seems that he [McConnell] is as concerned as many Republicans are with the notion of packing the Court… There is only one United States Senator who has had a direct impact on the composition of the United States Supreme Court in modern memory. Who was that Senator?” Durbin asked rhetorically. “It was Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Because he decided to keep the Court at eight Justices for almost a year after the death of Antonin Scalia. He refused to give President Obama his constitutional and legal option of filling the vacancy of Justice Scalia, and for a year, Mitch McConnell, for his own political purposes, kept the Court composition at eight.”

Durbin continued: “When asked if she [Judge Jackson] wanted to pack the Court, she said, ‘Senator, that is not my job. I would be a judge. You’re a legislator, you would have the power, if you wish, to change the composition of the Court. I don’t have that authority.’  To make that the number one reason for not supporting her nomination is less than compelling.”

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Little Rock, and was among more than a dozen, white Republican senators that focused their questions to Jackson on her sentencing record on child pornography, her ideas on critical race theory, and other conspiracy circulation among pro-Trump conservatives.

But Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, delivered the strongest backing of Judge Jackson against the Republican fusillade that lasted for nearly two days. Booker, speaking directly to the U.S. Court of Appeals judge, said the racially tinged criticism of the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court by Cotton and the other Republican senators was par for the course.

“You got here how every Black woman in America who’s gotten anywhere has done, by being like Ginger Rogers: ‘I did everything Fred Astaire did but backward, in heels,'” Booker said.

Booker later continued: ““It’s hard for me not to look at you and not see my mom. Not to see my cousins, one of them who had to come here and sit behind you. She had to have your back. I see my ancestors and yours,” Booker said. “But don’t worry, my sister. Don’t worry. God has got you. And how do I know that? You’re here, and I know what it’s taken for you to sit in that seat.

“You have earned this spot,” Booker said as Judge Jackson wiped tears from her eyes. “You are worthy. You are a great American.”

The Committee hearings on Judge Jackson’ nomination concluded on Thursday with testimony and support for President Biden’s nominee replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer from the American Bar Association (ABA) and outside witnesses. 

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