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Biden introduces historic nominee Jackson, tapped to be first Black female justice

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 2/25/2022 John Wagner, Mariana Alfaro, Felicia Sonmez, Eugene Scott
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President Biden on Friday announced his historic pick of federal judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court, following through on a campaign pledge to nominate the first Black woman to the nation’s highest court in its 223-year history.

During an event at the White House, Biden said Jackson is “someone with extraordinary character” and “will bring to the Supreme Court an independent-minded, uncompromising integrity.” After being introduced, Jackson said the United States is “the greatest beacon of hope and democracy.”

If confirmed, Jackson would replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who announced last month that he would retire when the court term ends this summer. Democrats are determined to move swiftly to confirm Jackson, whom Biden elevated last year to the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Here’s what to know

4:02 PM: Biden called Schumer, McConnell, Pelosi and Clyburn this morning to inform them of court pick

Press secretary Jen Psaki holds a news briefing in the White House on Feb. 25. © Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post Press secretary Jen Psaki holds a news briefing in the White House on Feb. 25.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that Biden interviewed his three Supreme Court finalists — Jackson, South Carolina federal District Judge J. Michelle Childs and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra R. Kruger — on Feb. 14. He called Jackson on Thursday night to inform her of his decision.

Psaki also said Biden called Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) Friday morning to inform them that he’d picked Jackson as his Supreme Court nominee.

Psaki also said Vice President Harris “has been very engaged not just in the decision-making process, as the president talked about during his remarks, but she called former president Obama and former president Clinton as well and she has also been calling a range of members of Congress as a part of the announcement process.”

By: Mariana Alfaro

3:40 PM: Group launches ad campaign supporting Jackson’s nomination

Liberal advocacy group Demand Justice is spending $1 million to support the nomination of Jackson, arguing that the judge is worthy of bipartisan support.

The ad opens with endorsements of Jackson from editorials in leading newspapers, including The Post, which noted her “top-flight academic qualifications.”

“When you have one of the most qualified Supreme Court nominees ever, there’s only one thing to do: Confirm her,” a voice-over in the 30-second ad said, a spot that will run nationally.

Politico first reported on the ad.

The spot focuses on Jackson’s bipartisan support when she was confirmed last year to the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, including the votes of Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

One of the final images in the ad is former House speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who praised Jackson at her confirmation hearing for a U.S. District Court post in 2012. The two are related by marriage; Ryan’s sister-in-law is married to the twin brother of Jackson’s husband.

“I know she’s clearly qualified, but it bears repeating just how qualified she is,” Ryan says in the ad.

By: Eugene Scott

2:32 PM: Jackson credits nomination to God, family, says U.S. is the ‘greatest beacon’ of democracy

Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominee for associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, speaks during an announcement ceremony with President Biden at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 25, 2022. © Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominee for associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, speaks during an announcement ceremony with President Biden at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 25, 2022.

Jackson, after being introduced by Biden, said she is “truly humbled by the extraordinary honor of this nomination.”

“I am especially grateful for the care that you have taken in discharging your constitutional duty in service of our democracy, with all that is going on in the world today,” she said.

Jackson began her remarks by thanking God “for delivering me to this point” in her career and said she was blessed to be born in the United States, which she described as “the greatest beacon of hope and democracy.”

She credited her parents for starting her “on this path,” and said one of her earliest memories is of her father “sitting at the kitchen table reading his law books.”

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Jackson said she is standing on the shoulders of Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman to be appointed as a federal judge. Coincidentally, Jackson noted, she shared a birthday with Motley.

“Judge Motley’s life and career has been a true inspiration to me as I have pursued this professional path,” Jackson said. “I can only hope that my life and career, my love of this country and the Constitution, and my commitment to upholding the rule of law and the sacred principles upon which this great nation was founded will inspire future generations of Americans.”

She also thanked her husband and daughters, as well as Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

“Justice Breyer, the members of the Senate will decide if I fill your seat, but please know that I could never fill your shoes,” she said.

By: Mariana Alfaro

2:15 PM: ‘For too long, our government and our courts haven’t looked like America,’ Biden says as he introduces Jackson

In remarks at the White House, Biden introduced Jackson as “a daughter of former public school teachers, a proven consensus builder, an accomplished lawyer and a distinguished jurist … on one of the nation’s most prestigious courts.”

He also emphasized the history-making nature of her nomination.

“For too long, our government and our courts haven’t looked like America,” Biden said. “I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation, with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications, and that we inspire all young people to believe that they can one day serve their country at the highest level.”

Biden said that in the process of selecting a nominee, he consulted with members of both parties as well as with legal scholars and Vice President Harris.

His choice, he said, had to be “a nominee worthy of Justice Breyer’s legacy of excellence and decency, someone extremely qualified, with a brilliant legal mind, with the utmost character and integrity.”

By: Felicia Sonmez

1:56 PM: Rep. Clyburn calls Jackson ‘outstanding’ judge, says Childs ‘continues to make all South Carolinians proud’

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) applauded Biden on Friday for nominating Jackson — and also offered his praise for South Carolina federal District Judge J. Michelle Childs, who Clyburn had urged Biden to nominate for the Supreme Court opening.

Clyburn is the third-ranking House Democrat. A longtime Biden ally, his endorsement of the former vice president was pivotal to Biden’s victory in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

In a statement, Clyburn called Jackson an “outstanding” judge.

“This is a glass ceiling that took far too long to shatter, and I commend President Biden for taking a sledgehammer to it,” Clyburn said. “I congratulate Judge Jackson and offer my full support during the confirmation process and beyond.”

Clyburn noted that he was “pleased” to have advanced Childs’s name as a potential nominee.

“Although not the finalist, Judge Childs’ inclusion among the three that were interviewed continues her record of remarkable contributions to making this country’s greatest accessible and affordable for all. And, she continues to make all South Carolinians proud,” he said.

By: Felicia Sonmez

1:02 PM: DNC sends fundraising solicitation citing Biden’s pick

Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, then a candidate for the U.S. Senate in South Carolina, holds a drive-in campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C., on Oct. 17, 2020. © Lauren Petracca/For The Washington Post Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, then a candidate for the U.S. Senate in South Carolina, holds a drive-in campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C., on Oct. 17, 2020.

The Democratic National Committee wasted little time in seeking to raise money off Biden’s pick of Jackson.

In an early afternoon email solicitation, DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison said it was “long overdue that a Black woman serves on the Supreme Court,” and he urged grass-roots donors to open their wallets to continue to elect Democrats.

“I’d be lying if I said that Joe, Kamala, Democrats in the Senate and I weren’t relying on supporters like you to help elect more Democrats and strengthen our congressional majorities for the fights we have ahead,” Harrison said.

By: John Wagner

12:51 PM: Jackson would make history as first former federal public defender on Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in April 2021. © Kevin Lamarque/Reuters Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in April 2021.

In vetting Biden’s pick for the influential appeals court in Washington last year, senators on both sides of the aisle saw advantage in distilling the lengthy and varied legal career of Jackson to two words: public defender.

Was she ever concerned that her work would lead to “more violent criminals — including gun criminals — being put back on the streets?” asked Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

“Have you ever represented a terrorist at Guantánamo Bay?” pressed Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

Read the full story

By: Ann E. Marimow and Aaron C. Davis

12:39 PM: How to watch Biden’s announcement

Watch a special report with Libby Casey today at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time as President Biden announces his choice of federal judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer, fulfilling his pledge to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. Biden will make the formal announcement with Jackson at the White House.

Casey will anchor coverage from The Washington Post’s newsroom, with reporting and analysis from Rhonda Colvin, James Hohmann, Hannah Jewell, Ann E. Marimow, Seung Min Kim, Robert Barnes and Vanessa Williams.

Colvin sat down with Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) last week to discuss the nomination.

Jewell heard from Black students at Howard and Georgetown law schools. Jackson, 51, would be the third African American in the high court’s 233-year history.

Friday, Feb. 25

1:30 p.m. ET

By: Sarah Parnass

12:29 PM: Americans divided over whether first Black female justice will make a difference, Post-ABC poll finds

About half of Americans say having a Black woman on the Supreme Court for the first time would not make a difference for the country, but an almost equal number say it would be a good thing, a Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.

Four percent say it would be a bad thing.

Only two Black men have ever served on the nation’s highest court — the late Justice Thurgood Marshall and current Justice Clarence Thomas — and Black Americans, unsurprisingly, are the most enthusiastic about adding a Black woman. A 65 percent majority of Black Americans say it would be good for the country, with 33 percent saying it would make no difference, according to the poll.

There was is a sharp partisan difference in the results. Nearly 80 percent of Democrats welcomed President Biden’s decision to nominate an African American woman, saying it would be a good thing for the country. That compares with 42 percent of independents and 16 percent of Republicans. Among those who identify with the GOP, 70 percent said the nomination would not make a difference, and 10 percent said it would be a bad thing.

There are gender differences, too. Over half of women, 54 percent, say that having a Black woman on the Supreme Court would be a good thing for the country, compared with 35 percent of men.

Read the full story.

By: Robert Barnes

12:27 PM: How Ketanji Brown Jackson found a path between confrontation and compromise

Jackson, Biden’s choice to become the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, was a “child of the ’70s,” as she puts it. Raised with an African name, dressed in early childhood in a mini-dashiki, she was expected to reap the fruit of the boycotts and sit-ins of the 1960s, taking advantage of the opportunities and equality her parents’ generation had demanded.

But, if on paper Jackson’s career looks like a bullet train from the Miami suburbs to the nation’s highest court, her path was neither smooth nor straight. The generational pivot her parents and other civil rights activists sought turned out to be not so simple.

When Jackson was born in 1970, “there was probably a sense of invincibility in that moment,” she said in a speech last year. Johnny and Ellery Brown gave their firstborn a name — Ketanji Onyika — that meant “Lovely One” chosen from a list sent to them by Jackson’s aunt, then a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. Early photos show Jackson “rocking Afro-puffs,” she said.

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By: Marc Fisher, Ann E. Marimow and Lori Rozsa

12:00 PM: Analysis: 4 issues to watch in the Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation fight

Jackson has been considered the front-runner throughout much of the process. Although the hearings are expected to be contentious, given the stakes and the 50-50 Senate — another finalist, J. Michelle Childs, was the preferred pick for some Republicans — Jackson was confirmed to a federal appeals court just last year, and she has had some bipartisan support.

It’s not clear at this point how much resistance Republicans will put up to her nomination, given it won’t change the balance of power on the court and Democrats have the necessary 50 votes. But it’s worth looking at any potential hurdles she might face. Although both of Jackson’s confirmations — last year and in 2012 to a federal-district court — were relatively amicable, Republicans have isolated a few things that could come up.

One line of potential attack spanned both her confirmations, but without Republicans going at it too hard: her representation of a Guantánamo Bay detainee, Khi Ali Gul.

Read the full story

By: Aaron Blake

12:00 PM: Biden informed Jackson of pick Thursday night, official says

Biden formally informed Jackson on Thursday night that he planned to nominate her to replace Breyer — for whom Jackson clerked — according to an official with knowledge of the process.

The others in contention for the nomination — California Supreme Court Justice Leondra R. Kruger and U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs — were notified Friday morning, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to confirm private conversations.

By: Seung Min Kim

11:47 AM: Police group praises Jackson, says she would ‘treat issues related to law enforcement fairly and justly’

National Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes speaks with reporters on Feb. 9 outside the Capitol. © Alex Brandon/AP National Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes speaks with reporters on Feb. 9 outside the Capitol.

The Fraternal Order of Police praised Jackson on Friday morning, giving the former public defender a notable boost from the country’s largest policing organization.

In a statement, Patrick Yoes, the group’s president, said Jackson hailed from “a law enforcement family,” highlighting that her uncles and brother had all worked in policing. As a result, Yoes said, “she should know quite well the difficulties and dangers our officers face in the line of duty every single day.”

Yoes also pointed to Jackson’s experience on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, acknowledging that the policing group was “not always in total accord with her views” there. But, Yoes said, the people and groups involved in discussing sentencing issues — including Jackson — remained engaged with each other, leading to compromises and, eventually, he said, the First Step Act signed in 2018.

“There is little doubt that she has the temperament, intellect, legal experience, and family background to have earned this appointment,” Yoes said. “We are reassured that, should she be confirmed, she would approach her future cases with an open mind and treat issues related to law enforcement fairly and justly.”

By: Mark Berman

11:41 AM: Former House speaker Paul Ryan congratulates Jackson

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, center. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, center. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Former House speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) congratulated Jackson on her nomination Friday morning, saying he and his wife, Janna, are “incredibly happy” for Jackson and her family.

Ryan and Jackson are distantly related by marriage. Janna Ryan’s sister is married to the twin brother of Jackson’s husband. While Jackson and Ryan do not share the same politics, Ryan has spoken highly of the judge, praising her during her 2012 confirmation hearing for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In a tweet Friday — shared with closed replies — Ryan shared the same support he voiced for Jackson in 2012.

“Our politics may differ, but my praise for Ketanji’s intellect, for her character, and for her integrity, is unequivocal,” Ryan said.

By: Mariana Alfaro

11:26 AM: Clerk for a Supreme Court justice, then get appointed to the job

Is a clerkship for a Supreme Court justice becoming a prerequisite for getting the lifetime appointment itself?

If Jackson is confirmed to the high court, she would become the fifth straight justice to have earlier served at the Marble Palace as a clerk. And she would become the third person to take the place of the justice for whom she worked. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who replaced William H. Rehnquist, and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who replaced Anthony M. Kennedy, will be sitting just down the bench from Jackson.

Jackson, of course, would replace her old boss, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who himself was a clerk at the high court.

All three of President Donald Trump’s nominees to the court — Kavanaugh, Neil M. Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett — were clerks. Barrett served Justice Antonin Scalia, and Gorsuch is a Kennedy alumnus.

Among the Democratic nominees, Justice Elena Kagan clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve on the court.

Ivy League law schools supply many clerks, and the Supreme Court reflects that, as well. If Jackson is confirmed, there would be four justices from Harvard (the others being Roberts, Kagan and Gorsuch) and four from Yale (Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Kavanaugh). Barrett graduated from Notre Dame.

By: Robert Barnes

11:22 AM: Rep. Beatty says CBC members will be ‘laser-focused’ on ensuring fair hearing for Jackson

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Friday that Black lawmakers will be “laser-focused” on ensuring that Jackson “receives a full and fair hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

“We are also prepared to combat anyone who may use personal attacks or bigoted language to discredit Judge Jackson,” Beatty said in a statement. “Sadly, we know that Black women in positions of power often face the ugliest forms of racist and sexist attacks. Despite this, in the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘we shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ ”

In recent weeks, Black female lawmakers have sought to avoid pitting potential nominees against each other in their public remarks, aiming to make sure Biden’s eventual choice would not be tainted or diminished by Democratic infighting ahead of expected Republican attacks.

The Republican National Committee on Friday immediately cast Jackson as “a radical, left-wing activist who would rubberstamp Biden’s disastrous agenda.”

“By picking Jackson, Biden put far-left special interests ahead of defending Americans’ rights and liberties,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “The Republican National Committee will make sure voters know just how radical Jackson is and remember at the ballot box in November.”

By: Felicia Sonmez and Marianna Sotomayor

11:14 AM: ‘Bold. Principled. Qualified’: CBC women hail Jackson’s historic nomination

Female members of the Congressional Black Caucus hailed Biden’s expected nomination of Jackson on Friday, describing the move as historic and praising Jackson’s qualifications.

“Bold. Principled. Qualified. Dedicated to justice,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) said in a tweet. “@POTUS has met the moment w/ the historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson & we must have swift confirmation.”

Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) said that for years, she has “had the privilege of witnessing Ketanji Brown Jackson’s greatness as a judge.”

“Now, the entire nation will see for itself. Congratulations, Ketanji, on your historic nomination to the United States Supreme Court,” Wilson tweeted.

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) congratulated Jackson and quoted a Bible verse: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint.”

The organization Higher Heights for America, which encourages Black women to run for elected office, noted that Black women “have shown how powerful our activism and organizing can be in politics, yet we are still grossly underrepresented in leadership on every level.”

“There are currently zero Black women on the Supreme Court, zero Black women in the Senate, zero Black women Governors, and zero Black women who have ever served as President of this country,” the group’s president and CEO, Glynda C. Carr, said in a statement.

Biden, Carr added, “recognizes the value of diversity in his administration and has been living out that truth in the selections that he has made.”

By: Felicia Sonmez

10:58 AM: McConnell signals likely opposition to Jackson’s nomination

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) heads to a meeting on Capitol Hill on Feb. 17, 2022, in Washington. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) heads to a meeting on Capitol Hill on Feb. 17, 2022, in Washington. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled his likely opposition to Jackson’s nomination, noting in a statement that he had voted against her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit less than a year ago.

McConnell congratulated Jackson and said he looked forward to “meeting with her in person and studying her record, legal views, and judicial philosophy.”

But, in addition to prominently mentioning his previous opposition, McConnell noted that one of her prior rulings was unanimously reversed by her present colleagues on the D.C. Circuit, and he said he understands that Jackson is “the favored choice of far-left dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the Court itself.”

Several advocacy groups have been gearing up to back Biden’s eventual nominee in the confirmation process.

“With that said, I look forward to carefully reviewing Judge Jackson’s nomination during the vigorous and thorough Senate process that the American people deserve,” McConnell said.

By: John Wagner

10:57 AM: Schumer and Durbin praise Jackson, promise swift action

President Biden called Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday morning to inform him of his choice of Jackson, according to an individual familiar with the call.

In a statement, Schumer praised the nominee, calling the selection “an important step toward ensuring the Supreme Court reflects the nation as a whole.”

“As the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice in the Court’s 232-year-history, she will inspire countless future generations of Americans,” Schumer said in a statement. “With her exceptional qualifications, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be a Justice who will uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of all Americans, including the voiceless and vulnerable.”

The individual who described the call spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly about a private conversation.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, who is both chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Democratic whip in the Senate, promised to move swiftly on the nomination.

“To be the first to make history in our nation you need to have an exceptional life story,” Durbin said. “Judge Jackson’s achievements are well known to the Senate Judiciary Committee as we approved her to the D.C. Circuit less than a year ago with bipartisan support.”

“We will begin immediately to move forward on her nomination with the careful, fair, and professional approach she and America are entitled to,” Durbin added.

By: Eugene Scott and Seung Min Kim

10:52 AM: South Carolina’s Republican senators are disappointed by Biden’s choice

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) arrives for a vote at the Capitol on Feb. 17. © Jon Cherry/Reuters Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) arrives for a vote at the Capitol on Feb. 17.

Republican Sens. Lindsey O. Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina both expressed disappointment in Biden’s decision to name Jackson to the Supreme Court, given that they backed fellow South Carolinian Judge J. Michelle Childs.

In a statement, Scott said he looks forward to meeting with Jackson and “vetting her record, as I have done for all previous nominees to the Supreme Court during my time in the Senate.”

However, “as a fellow South Carolinian and the product of some of America’s finest public schools, I believe Judge Michelle Childs would have been an excellent nominee to our nation’s highest court,” Scott said.

“I am disappointed that President Biden missed the opportunity to nominate a highly-qualified judge who would have garnered widespread bipartisan support,” Scott added.

Graham was quick to express his disappointment on Twitter, accusing liberal Democrats of dissuading Biden from nominating Childs.

“The attacks by the Left on Judge Childs from South Carolina apparently worked,” Graham said, adding that he does expect “a respectful but interesting hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

By: Mariana Alfaro

10:49 AM: Biden’s Supreme Court pick is hearing three D.C. Circuit cases this morning

Even as news was breaking about Biden’s plan to pick Jackson for the Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit judge was still busy doing her day job. Jackson is part of a three-judge panel Friday morning hearing oral arguments in a trio of appeals court cases.

There was no mention when the hearing began that less than an hour earlier news outlets had begun reporting that Jackson was Biden’s choice to succeed retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer. Instead, Jackson and her colleagues — Judges Robert L. Wilkins and Patricia A. Millett — were questioning lawyers in the first case about federal railroad regulations.

In the past, Supreme Court nominees who are sitting judges have stepped back from the day-to-day work of their courts to avoid potential conflicts. But Biden’s announcement that he plans to tap Jackson came after the D.C. Circuit arguments were already underway Friday morning.

By: Ann E. Marimow

10:26 AM: Analysis: What to know about Ketanji Brown Jackson, Biden’s pick for the Supreme Court

From the moment President Biden promised to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, Jackson has been the likeliest pick. And that is who he will nominate on Friday to fill retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s seat.

Here’s why and what you need to know about her.

She’s got a background made for a Supreme Court nominee: Jackson grew up in Miami, her mom a public school teacher and her father a lawyer for the school board. One of her uncles was the city’s police chief.

Read the full story

By: Amber Phillips

10:25 AM: Biden praises Jackson, calling her ‘one of our nation’s brightest legal minds’

Ketanji Brown Jackson, then nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, greets Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), before her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in 2021 in Washington, D, C. © Tom Williams/AFP/Getty Images Ketanji Brown Jackson, then nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, greets Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), before her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in 2021 in Washington, D, C.

In a statement Friday morning, Biden said he was “proud” to announce Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, calling her “one of our nation’s brightest legal minds.”

Jackson, the president said, “will be an exceptional justice.”

In a statement, the White House said Biden “conducted a rigorous process to identify” retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s replacement.

“President Biden sought a candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law,” the White House said. “He also sought a nominee — much like Justice Breyer — who is wise, pragmatic, and has a deep understanding of the Constitution as an enduring charter of liberty.”

The White House said Biden, as a former, longtime chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “took seriously the Constitution’s requirement that he make this appointment ‘by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,’ seeking the advice of Senators in both parties.”

Jackson, who is one of Breyer’s former clerks, “has broad experience across the legal profession,” the White House said, and is “an exceptionally qualified nominee as well as an historic nominee, and the Senate should move forward with a fair and timely hearing and confirmation.”

By: Mariana Alfaro

10:09 AM: Democrats hope Sen. Luján makes a quick recovery from stroke with vote on Supreme Court nominee looming

Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) © Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.)

Senate Democrats are hoping Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) makes a quick recovery from a stroke he suffered in early February as they look ahead to a potentially close vote on confirming Jackson to the Supreme Court.

Republicans eliminated the 60-vote filibuster threshold to confirm Supreme Court nominees after President Donald Trump nominated Justice Neil M. Gorsuch in 2017. Democrats may have to rely on Vice President Harris’s tiebreaking vote in the evenly divided Senate to confirm Jackson to the Supreme Court. To do so, they need Luján’s vote if no Republicans break with their party to support Jackson.

Jackson received three Republican votes — Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) — when she was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last year. But Graham, citing the reports on Jackson, tweeted Friday that her expected nomination shows that Biden has been won over by the “radical Left,” signaling he could reverse course on a Supreme Court nomination vote.

Luján has said he expects to be back at work soon. In a video released nearly two weeks ago, the New Mexico Democrat said he plans to return to the Capitol in time to consider and vote for Biden’s Supreme Court nominee.

“I am doing well,” Luján said. “I am going to make a full recovery. I am going to walk out of here, and I am going to beat this. And I am going to be stronger once I come out.”

By: Mariana Alfaro

9:54 AM: The Supreme Court’s prolonged lack of diversity, visualized

For almost all of its history, the U.S. Supreme Court has been made up of White men.

Biden promised to nominate a Black woman to the court for the first time, to replace retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer. If confirmed, Jackson would be only the eighth person in the court’s 233-year history who was not a White man.

© The Washington Post

A number of Senate Republicans have pushed back against Biden’s promise specifically to add a Black woman to the court, saying she would simply be a beneficiary of affirmative action rather than chosen because of her qualifications.

But only modern presidents have placed a premium on racial and gender diversity when nominating lifelong appointees to the Supreme Court — a stark reality visible in the court’s class photos.

Diversity has trickled into the court in modern times, and there are indications that it has made a difference, such as when the court allowed a state to ban Confederate flag license plates and cross burning, rejecting free-speech arguments. Sometimes, the impact of diversity rippled out from a fiery dissent by a justice that animated minority groups and helped drive a political conversation.

Read the full story

By: Amber Phillips

9:36 AM: Democrats have just enough votes to confirm Jackson, if they stick together

With the Senate divided 50-50 between the parties, Democrats have just enough votes to confirm President Biden’s pick if they all back her, since Vice President Harris could break any ties.

Still, Biden has made it clear he would like to attract at least a handful of GOP votes, and he has reached out to several Republicans who seem most likely to break ranks.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview that he is hopeful the confirmation process will be “very expeditious.”

But Supreme Court confirmations have become increasingly contentious in recent years, and the days when a nominee could win near-unanimous Senate approval have been replaced by increasingly partisan votes.

By: Tyler Pager, Sean Sullivan and Seung Min Kim

9:29 AM: Before Ketanji Brown Jackson, Barbara Jordan was almost the first Black woman on the Supreme Court

It was a hot spring afternoon in Austin, and Jane Hickie was overdressed. She had just come from the governor’s mansion to the home of Barbara Jordan, the legendary former congresswoman who was now an ethics professor at the University of Texas. They sat on Jordan’s uncovered back deck in the Texas sunshine.

A few hours earlier, President Bill Clinton had called Hickie’s friend and boss, Texas Gov. Ann Richards, while Hickie sat nearby. Clinton asked her something, and Richards, a close friend of Jordan’s, told him she would send Hickie to find out and let him know, Hickie remembered last week in a call with The Washington Post.

Now she was sitting in front of Jordan, who was casually dressed in “slacks and Oxford shirt,” to deliver Clinton’s proposition.

“President Clinton would like you to consider being nominated for the Supreme Court,” Hickie told her.

Jordan, famous for a baritone voice with which she had given pivotal speeches, looked at her and laughed — a big “melodious” laugh. Then, Hickie recalled, Jordan joked, “Oh, think who I’d have to sit next to!”

Jordan was relaxed and cordial, Hickie said. And Jordan was firm, concluding, “No. I like my life.”

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By: Gillian Brockell

9:29 AM: How a Supreme Court nominee becomes a justice

Jackson’s nomination must win confirmation in the Senate. Here’s the confirmation process for the president’s nominee:

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Republicans rammed through a change in Senate rules in 2017 to ensure the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s first nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch, with a simple majority vote after blocking President Barack Obama from filling the vacancy for much of 2016. That change will probably smooth the path for confirmation, although the Senate remains evenly divided, with Vice President Harris casting the tiebreaking vote.

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By: Ashlyn Still and Daniela Santamariña

9:22 AM: How long it takes to confirm a Supreme Court nominee

It has taken about 72 days on average to confirm the sitting justices for the Supreme Court, dating back to Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation in 1991.

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In fall 2020, despite the dying wishes of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republicans pushed through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett in a matter of weeks. President Donald Trump nominated her on Sept. 26, and she was confirmed Oct. 26, eight days before the election.

“President Biden’s nominee will receive a prompt hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will be considered and confirmed by the full United States Senate with all deliberate speed,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement last month.

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By: Washington Post Staff

9:19 AM: Durbin is determined to make history as he works to confirm Biden’s Supreme Court pick

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As a college intern in the 1960s, a young Richard J. Durbin was awed by the United States Senate as a grand theater of democracy, a solemn forum where men of distinction engaged in momentous, nation-changing debates.

That job, helping answer mail for legendary Sen. Paul H. Douglas of Illinois, helped launch Durbin’s six-decade political career. Now, after nearly 40 years of congressional service, Durbin is finally about to make his star turn on the Senate’s biggest stage.

The 77-year-old Democrat will hold the gavel when the Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings as soon as next month on President Biden’s forthcoming nominee to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

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By: Mike DeBonis, Seung Min Kim and Rhonda Colvin

9:16 AM: Charting Breyer’s center-left path on the Supreme Court

Regardless of Biden’s pick to fill the Supreme Court seat Justice Stephen G. Breyer plans to vacate this summer, the court will retain its six-seat conservative majority. But the decision, one of the most consequential a president can make, offers Biden an opportunity to give someone of his ideological choosing a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court.

Breyer has followed a center-left ideology during nearly three decades on the court, according to a measure of voting records called Martin-Quinn scores. The scores place Supreme Court justices on a left-right scale based on how often they vote with each other.

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By: Kevin Schaul and Adrian Blanco

9:15 AM: Activists who defended Harris now mobilizing for Supreme Court pick

Vice President Harris delivers remarks during a Cancer Moonshot event in the East Room of the White House on Feb. 2. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post Vice President Harris delivers remarks during a Cancer Moonshot event in the East Room of the White House on Feb. 2.

Black activists and women’s groups that banded together to protect Kamala D. Harris from racist and sexist attacks before and after the 2020 election are remobilizing for the battle over Biden’s upcoming Supreme Court nomination, concerned that the president’s pledge to pick a Black woman has sparked racially charged challenges that are already impacting potential candidates.

UltraViolet, a women’s rights group, will announce it is reactivating the Women’s Disinformation Defense Project — launched during Biden’s search for a vice president — to combat racist posts on social media.

The She Will Rise initiative, which has worked to establish a Black woman on the high court since before Biden was elected, is also stepping up efforts on behalf of the prospective nominee. The Black Women’s Roundtable is planning a rally at the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington and regular huddles with the White House, among other actions.

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By: Annie Linskey

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