Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed to the United States Supreme Court

The U.S. Senate voted 53-47 to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States on April 7, 2022. When she assumes office, she will become the first Black woman to serve on the highest court in United States history. Jackson will be sworn in when Justice Stephen Breyer retires during the court’s summer recess, which usually starts in late June or early July. 

Jackson was the first Supreme Court nominee to receive a confirmation vote in a 50-50 Senate. All 48 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with Democrats voted to confirm. Additionally, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also voted to confirm. This is the most votes a nominee has received from the opposition party since Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation in 2017. Gorsuch received three Democratic votes for his confirmation.

Since Justice Samuel Alito’s confirmation in 2006, nominees have received an average of four votes from senators who don’t caucus with the President’s party. Since 1967, when the Senate held its first roll call confirmation vote after Hawaii became the 50th state, the overall average of opposition party confirmation yes votes is 28.

The confirmation vote took place after a tied Senate Judiciary Committee vote (11-11) on April 4. On the same day, per an organizing resolution passed at the start of the 117th Congress, the full Senate voted 53-47 to advance her nomination from committee. 

Biden first announced he would nominate Jackson on Feb. 25, and formally transmitted the nomination to the Senate on Feb. 28. Prior to her nomination, Jackson served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Biden nominated her to that post in April 2021, and the Senate confirmed her with a 53-44 Senate vote on June 14, 2021. Three Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), voted to confirm Jackson to that post.

From the formal date of nomination to confirmation, Jackson’s confirmation process lasted 39 days. This was longer than Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation process, which lasted 28 days, but shorter than the process for Justices Brett Kavanaugh (90 days) and Gorsuch (67 days).

The average length of a Supreme Court vacancy since 1962, when measured from the retirement announcement to confirmation of a successor, is 132 days. The longest vacancy was between the terms of Antonin Scalia and Neil Gorsuch at 419 days, and the shortest was between the terms of Charles Evans Whittaker and Byron White at 13 days. Breyer announced his retirement on Jan. 27, 2022. Between Jan. 27, 2022, and April 7 there were 71 days, placing the length of time between Breyer’s announcement and Jackson’s confirmation below the average since 1962.

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