When President Joe Biden was elected, he made a campaign promise to enrich the federal judiciary from diverse backgrounds. In February, Biden nominated 51-year-old Kitangi Brown Jackson, who has so far served on the appeals court.
Her appointment was approved during Thursday’s vote. 53 senators voted for him and 47 against. Three Republicans joined the Democrats, all voting for him.
Jackson will succeed liberal judge Stephen Breyer, 83, who is retiring. Breyer will remain in office for a few more months, after which Jackson will be sworn in. Judge 116th became the highest judicial body in the United States. She is the sixth woman and the first black woman in history. She is also the eighth judge who is not white.
Before becoming a judge, Jackson advocated for people who could not afford a lawyer. They include some Guantanamo detainees, which Republican senators put on the net during the hearing. From 2010 to 2014, she also served as vice chair of the American Judgment Committee, a panel that advises lawmakers on criminal law provisions. In that capacity, she co-founded the law reducing sentences to 30,000 mostly black and Latino Americans.