Ketanji Brown Jackson has been nominated by President Joe Biden to be the first Black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
Biden is fulfilling a 2020 campaign promise by selecting a Black woman.
For over two centuries, the United States Supreme Court has been made up exclusively of white individuals.
Jackson would be only the third African-American and only the sixth woman to serve on the Supreme Court in US history. If she is confirmed by the Senate, she would join four other women on the nine-member Supreme Court for the first time.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is replacing the seat held by Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, who is retiring at the conclusion of the term this summer.
Jackson would not alter the balance of the court, which already leans 6-3 in favor of conservatives, by replacing Breyer, one of the more liberal justices.
Early in her legal career, Jackson served as one of Breyer’s law clerks. Jackson wrote two majority judgments during her brief tenure on the appeals court, one in favor of public sector unions contesting a regulation enacted during Republican former President Donald Trump’s administration that limited their negotiating power.
Last year, Biden nominated Jackson to the powerful US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
She went to Harvard for undergraduate and law school, and before becoming a federal judge in 2013, she worked for the US Sentencing Commission, which establishes federal sentencing policy.
Ketanji Brown Jackson‘s nomination must be confirmed by the 50-50 US Senate, where Democrats have a razor-thin majority and Vice President Kamala Harris serves as the tie-breaker.
Biden considered South Carolina District Court Judge J Michelle Childs and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra R Kruger for the nomination.
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin, wants the Senate to act fast on the nominee, and senators have set a deadline of mid-April for confirmation.
However, events between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Senator Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico’s long absence, might stymie that schedule.