- Jackson makes history as the first Black woman and first federal public defender to sit on the court.
- Jackson will replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer after he retires at the end of the term.
- The White House ceremony comes amid a wave of positive COVID-19 cases among top Biden officials.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will deliver remarks Friday at a ceremony marking the Senate’s historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, giving the White House and Democratic allies an opportunity to celebrate the first Black woman headed to the Supreme Court.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Jackson will also speak at the event, scheduled to take place at 12:15 p.m. EDT on the South Lawn of the White House.
The Senate voted 53-47 Thursday to confirm Jackson, a U.S. appeals court judge for the D.C. district. Three Republicans – Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah – joined all 50 Democratic senators to confirm the 116th justice. She will replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.
“This is a tremendously historic day in the White House and in the country, and this is a fulfillment of a promise the president made to the country,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said shortly after the vote.
More:Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed by Senate as first Black woman on Supreme Court
Biden vowed to nominate the nation’s first African American Supreme Court justice during the 2020 presidential campaign, eventually choosing the 51-year-old Jackson over two other candidates he interviewed. He nominated Jackson on Feb. 25, setting off a quick seven-week confirmation process.
As Biden struggles with low approval numbers, Jackson’s confirmation marks a major victory for him and his party. The president has been dogged by high inflation, the ongoing pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
More:Jackson confirmed in a hurry. Getting on the Supreme Court? That’ll take time.
While Republican members of the committee largely praised Jackson’s character and demeanor, they seized on her sentencing in child pornography cases to accuser her of being soft on crime. They also pushed Jackson on hot political wedge issues such as gender identity and critical race theory. But with Collins, Romney and Murkowski bucking their party to support Biden’s nominee, the White House was able to avoid a potential tie in the evenly divided Senate.
The White House ceremony comes amid a wave of positive COVID-19 cases among top Biden officials and other high-ranking Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Jamal Simmons, communications director for Vice President Kamala Harris. Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, also tested positive for COVID-19.
More:Speaker Nancy Pelosi tests positive for COVID-19 as outbreak spreads among government officials in DC
The White House has said Biden was not in “close contact” with any of the officials including Pelosi, who interacted with Biden at White House events both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Psaki said she wasn’t aware of any additional testing, social distancing or masking requirements that will be taken for the ceremony. She pushed back at comparisons between Friday’s event for Jackson and a 2020 White House celebration hosted by thenPresident Donald Trump for Justice Amy Coney Barrett, which turned into a super-spreader gathering.
“At that point in time, vaccines were unavailable. People were not vaccinated,” Psaki said. “It certainly puts us in a different space. This event is also going to be outside.”
A wide variety of individuals were invited to the ceremony, the White House said Friday, including Jackson’s family and all current and former Justices of the Supreme Court.
In addition, the White House said members of the cabinet, all U.S. Senators who voted to confirm Jackson, members of the House Democratic Leadership, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the chairs of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, Democratic members of Congress from Florida and key stakeholders including labor leaders, Tribal leaders and advocacy groups were all invited to the event.
Jackson might have to wait as long as three months before officially joining the nation’s highest court. Breyer, who announced his retirement in January, has said he intends to finish the Supreme Court term, which will probably end in late June or early July.
Contributing: Dylan Wells and John Fritze
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison and Rebecca Morin @rebeccamorin_
Follow News Everything for News Today, Breaking News, Latest News, World News, Breaking News Headlines, National News, Today’s News
#Ketanji #Brown #Jackson #Biden #speak #White #House #Senate #vote