Senate Confirms Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court: The Possible End of Partisan America (Hopefully)

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed as SCOTUS justice.
Photo Courtesy / The White House

The past 20 years of American politics can be summarized in one word: partisanship. Since the controversial presidential election of George W. Bush in 2000 that still garners debate over whether Bush truly defeated Al Gore, the country has faced an alarming amount of this partisanship —  having more support for one’s party than the need to work together to better the country. 

Now, people across the world are witnessing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson become the first Black woman appointed to the Supreme Court today, after defending herself and her qualifications in the Senate. Her confirmation hearing was shockingly consumed with heated debate despite her clear experience and ability, due to political turmoil within Congress and the country. 

However, as the Senate voted to move forward on Jackson’s confirmation 53-47, as reported by The New York Times, there is a possibility that this factional mindset is slowly weakening. Three Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in supporting President Joe Biden’s nominee. While this is not a significantly large number, the senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah  — prove there is still hope for those in power to put the wellbeing of their constituents above that of their political party.

“After reviewing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s extensive record, watching much of her hearing testimony, and meeting with her twice in person, I have concluded that she possesses the experience, qualifications, and integrity to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court,” Collins — the first Republican to cross party lines to support Jackson — said in a statement on March 30. “I will, therefore, vote to confirm her to this position.”

Needless to say, three votes is a miniscule number compared to the 47 who have not offered their support for Jackson. Republican figureheads — such as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee — have used this crucial part of the governmental process to give feverish speeches. The effort is either a bid to gain support for a possible presidential run or to prove some form of madness. Cruz has been a particular source of contention, especially in his accusations that she is too lenient in her sentencing of criminal defendants. These statements have been labeled as misleading by multiple news organizations.

Judge Jackson faced accusatory questioning in her confirmation hearings led by Ted Cruz on numerous occasions.
Photo Courtesy / YouTube PBS Newshour

However, three votes is a larger number than recent polarized decisions, such as the high-profile vote for the Affordable Care Act under President Barack Obama. When it reached the Senate in December 2009, there was not a single Republican who voted for the bill. In similar contentious fashion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2018 with only 50 votes, as just one Democrat voted to confirm him. In short, while three is not a large number, it is better than zero, and can be used as a catalyst for change within current political institutions.

Regardless of whether fanatics within Congress are supportive of the monumental change, it is clear that history is being made with Jackson’s confirmation. The impact is further indelible due to Vice President Kamala Harris — the first Black woman to hold the position— leading the voting of her confirmation, and Corey Booker — one of only 11 Black senators in American history — being one of her most outspoken advocates. There is hope, even if only because of three senators, that people throughout the country will be able to see past political orientation, making decisions based on their own opinions instead of the loudest voices in the party they support.