Skip to content

U.S. Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson as Federal Appeals Court Judge

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. (305509)
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The Senate voted Monday to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, making her the ninth Black woman ever to serve as a federal appeals court judge, reports the Huffington Post.

Senators voted 53-44 to confirm Jackson to a lifetime seat on the court that’s considered second only to the U.S. Supreme Court in terms of the power it wields over constitutional and administrative law. The D.C. Circuit’s jurisdiction covers Congress and many federal government agencies.

Only three Republicans joined Democrats in supporting Jackson: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

Jackson, 50, has been a U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C., since 2013. When the Senate confirmed her to that post, it was by a unanimous vote.

Jackson has been floated as President Joe Biden’s potential Supreme Court pick if a vacancy opens up on that court. Biden has vowed to make his first Supreme Court nominee a Black woman, and the D.C. Circuit has been a launchpad for several Supreme Court justices.

Of the nine justices currently on the high court, three were previously on the D.C. Circuit: John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. Former Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia also jumped from the D.C. Circuit to the Supreme Court.

Progressive judicial advocacy groups like Demand Justice have been strongly advocating for Jackson because of the badly needed diversity she will bring to the federal bench. In addition to being one of few Black women to be confirmed as a federal appeals court judge, Jackson is the ninth public defender ever to land the job.