'A wonderful day': Biden, Harris celebrate historic Supreme Court confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson

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  • 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 kicked off the ceremony, noting Jackson will join a court that “will answer fundamental questions about who we are and what kind of country we live in.”

“You will inspire generations of leaders,” Harris said at the ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. “They will watch your confirmation hearings and read your decisions in the years to come.”

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

US President Joe Biden and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson watch the Senate vote on her nomination to be an associate justice on the US Supreme Court, from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on April 7, 2022. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 0 ORIG FILE ID: AFP_327W3NZ.jpg

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. 

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