Biden nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Jason Kurtz, CNN

Updated 4:50 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022
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9:34 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson "has everything, she is impeccably qualified," CNN legal analyst says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

President Biden has reportedly selected Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court, according to a source, "and she is impeccably qualified by all the traditional measures," CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

As this sets in motion a historic confirmation process for the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation, Toobin said, "Judge Jackson has everything."

"She was a graduate of Harvard Law School. She clerked for Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, sort of like Brett Kavanaugh clerked for Anthony Kennedy, whom he replaced on the Supreme Court," he added.

Recapping her tenure that ranges from being a public defender to a private lawyer, Toobin said it's the kind of experience that "many people think the court has needed for many years."

"She was appointed by Barack Obama to the District Court in Washington, served for several years, and just last year, President Biden appointed her to the DC Circuit, which is the traditional last step for many justices who wind up on the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Ruth Ginsburg, Brett Kavanaugh — all served on the DC Circuit before they were on the Supreme Court," Toobin noted.

She is expected to vote very similarly to Breyer "so the court is not expected to change in its results very much, but it is a big deal," Toobin added.

9:00 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

Here's when Ketanji Brown Jackson found out she was nominated

From CNN's John Harwood

Ketanji Brown Jackson, who sits on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, received and accepted President Biden's offer to be his nominee to the US Supreme Court in a call last night, according to a source familiar.

Jackson has served as an assistant federal public defender, a commissioner on the US Sentencing Commission, a lawyer in private practice and on two prestigious federal courts.

If elevated to the high court, she would follow in the footsteps of the likes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who took the seats of the justices they had worked for.

9:08 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

Biden will nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson to be first Black woman to sit on Supreme Court

From CNN's Jake Tapper

Ketanji Brown Jackson has been selected as President Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
Ketanji Brown Jackson has been selected as President Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

President Biden has selected Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court, according to a source who has been notified about the decision, setting in motion a historic confirmation process for the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.

Jackson, 51, currently sits on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Jackson has served as an assistant federal public defender, a commissioner on the US Sentencing Commission, a lawyer in private practice and on two prestigious federal courts.

Biden, who vowed during the 2020 campaign to select a Black woman to the Supreme Court should a vacancy arise, has already elevated Jackson once, appointing her last year to the federal appeals court in DC, which is considered the second-most powerful federal court in the country.

Because of that appellate appointment, she's already been through a vetting process that included an interview with the President himself. Last June, the Senate confirmed Jackson by a 53-44 vote.

As a district court judge, Jackson has ruled on high profile cases, including the Don McGahn congressional subpoena lawsuit in which she ordered the former Trump White House counsel to comply with the House's subpoena.

As an appellate judge, she signed on to the recent opinion ordering the disclosure of Trump White House documents being sought by the House Jan. 6 committee. The Supreme Court declined Trump's request that it reverse the decision in an order this month allowing the documents to be released.

If elevated to the high court, she would follow in the footsteps of the likes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who took the seats of the justices they had worked for.

Jackson clerked for Supreme Court Justice Breyer during the 1999 term after serving as a clerk in 1997-1998 to Judge Bruce M. Selya, a federal judge in Massachusetts. Breyer announced his retirement in January.

8:59 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

The Supreme Court justices to watch after Breyer retires and a new justice joins the highest court

From CNN's  Joan Biskupic

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Chief Justice John Roberts.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Chief Justice John Roberts. (Getty Images)

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor would gain new power, Justice Elena Kagan will likely recalibrate her negotiating style and Chief Justice John Roberts may have less chance for compromise.

The departure of any one justice shuffles relations among all others, and the impending retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer will especially affect his liberal colleagues and the conservative chief justice who sits in the center chair and is ideologically near the middle, too.

The 83-year-old Breyer, while solidly on the liberal wing, has nonetheless sought common ground. More than most justices he has tried to bridge today's 6-3, conservative-liberal divide, with an approach marked by with unflagging optimism.

The oft-repeated adage, attributed to the late Justice Byron White, who served from 1962 to 1993, is that with each new justice, there's a new court. The justices reorient to the latest appointee and, in turn, to each other.

The courtroom bench would be reordered next session, according to the custom of alternating seniority. Roberts, in the center chair, would sit between Clarence Thomas, now in his 31st session and already at Roberts' side, and Samuel Alito, finishing his 16th year and soon to succeed Breyer as third in seniority.

The sheer position of Roberts between two rocks of the right-wing illustrates the deepening conservative dominance, irrespective of President Biden's choice of a Breyer successor.

Sotomayor, who will become the senior liberal on the bench, would be positioned between Thomas and Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Biden pledged to name the first Black woman to the bench. The nominee would make history at America's 233-year-old court. Of the 115 justices appointed over the decades, only five have been women and three have been either black or Hispanic.

Read the full story here.