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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11:29 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

Biden and Ketanji Brown Jackson will deliver remarks this afternoon on Supreme Court nomination

President Biden will deliver remarks this afternoon to announce his decision to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, the White House said, calling her an "exceptionally qualified and historic nominee."

The President will speak at 2 p.m. ET, according to updated White House schedule guidance.

In a tweet, Biden said Jackson is "one of our nation's brightest legal minds and will be an exceptional Justice."

Jackson will also be delivering remarks alongside Biden this afternoon, according to the White House. Her nomination sets in motion a historic confirmation process for the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.

The White House said in a statement that Biden "conducted a rigorous process" to identify a replacement for Justice Stephen Breyer and select Jackson.

See Biden's tweet:

1:12 p.m. ET, February 25, 2022

McConnell congratulates Jackson, but alleges she is "favored choice of far-left dark-money groups"

From CNN's Eva McKend

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks in the halls of the Capitol on February 17.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks in the halls of the Capitol on February 17. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell weighed in on President Biden's nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, saying “the Senate must conduct a rigorous, exhaustive review of Judge Jackson’s nomination as befits a lifetime appointment to our highest Court.”

“I also understand Judge Jackson was the favored choice of far-left dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the Court itself,” McConnell said in a statement. 

"I congratulate Judge Jackson on her nomination. I look forward to meeting with her in person and studying her record, legal views, and judicial philosophy," he also said in his statement.

10:24 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

Ketanji Brown Jackson was in a federal court hearing as news broke of her Supreme Court nomination

From CNN's Andrew Millman

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson participated in oral arguments for three cases before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals as part of a three-judge panel, shortly after CNN reported that President Biden had selected her to be nominated to the Supreme Court.

The first indication she was present for the hearing, which the DC Circuit streams on YouTube with only audio provided, came about 10 minutes into the first case, when she spoke up to say, “Sorry, I’m getting some feedback.”

Two of the cases before the DC Circuit this morning involved unions. 

 

11:31 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

Graham, who previously voted for Ketanji Brown Jackson, says her nomination means "radical Left has won"

From CNN's Sonnet Swire

Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing in Washington, DC, in 2021.
Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing in Washington, DC, in 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

After a source told CNN that President Biden has selected Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham expressed his displeasure via Twitter — even though he has previously voted for her.

“If media reports are accurate, and Judge Jackson has been chosen as the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Breyer, it means the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again. The attacks by the Left on Judge Childs from South Carolina apparently worked," he tweeted.

Graham was one of the three Senate Republicans to confirm Jackson in 2021. 

"I expect a respectful but interesting hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Harvard-Yale train to the Supreme Court continues to run unabated,” he also tweeted.

10:08 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

National Women's Law Center: Jackson's nomination promises "an end to the erasure of Black women" from SCOTUS

Reactions are starting to come in following CNN's reporting that 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.

Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said Jackson's historic nomination "promises an end to the erasure of Black women from our most sacred legal institutions."

Read the full statement below:

“Judge Jackson is an eminently qualified public servant with distinguished experience as a federal judge, and her historic nomination promises an end to the erasure of Black women from our most sacred legal institutions. She brings extensive litigation experience at every level of the federal court system. As a District Court judge, she ruled on over 550 cases and is renowned for her careful, methodical approach to ensuring equal justice under law on reproductive rights, disability rights, and workers rights. It is incumbent upon senators to give her a fair and timely confirmation without obstruction, honoring their Constitutional duty to advise and consent and their moral duty to treat her with the respect and dignity she deserves.”
9:46 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

Ketanji Brown Jackson is expected to be on Capitol Hill next week

From CNN's Manu Raju

Ketanji Brown Jackson is expected to have her courtesy meetings with senators next week, according to a person familiar with the plans.

It’s common for Supreme Court nominees to meet with the leadership on both sides, then members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois who serves as chairman of the committee, told CNN recently that he expects to have a hearing within a few weeks of the selection. The goal of the leadership is to have the nominee confirmed by the April 11 recess.

9:50 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

Biden met with Jackson earlier this month — a meeting that was kept under the radar, source says

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny 

President Biden met with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for her Supreme Court interview earlier this month – more than a week ago, a senior administration official says, in a meeting that the White House managed to keep entirely under the radar.

For more than a year, the President had familiarized himself with her work, reading many of her opinions and other writings – along with those of other contenders.

But the official says Biden also was impressed by her life story, including her rise from federal public defender to federal appellate judge – and her upbringing as the daughter of two public school teachers and administrators.

“President Biden sought a candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character and unwavering dedication to the rule of law,” the senior official said.

From the beginning, Jackson was the leading contender — but the official said the President gave “considerable weight” to other finalists, including Judge Michelle Childs and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.

The President reached his final decision this week, the official said, and extended the offer to her in a phone call on Thursday evening. She accepted in a call that lasted several minutes, the official said.

The White House considered delaying the announcement, given the events in Russia, but believed it was critical to get the second phase of the confirmation process moving, the official said.

11:36 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

The Supreme Court hasn't had a judge with criminal defense experience since Thurgood Marshall, legal expert says

(Al Drago/Getty Images)
(Al Drago/Getty Images)

If confirmed, President Biden's reported Supreme Court nominee pick, Ketanji Brown Jackson, "would be the only justice in a very long time with experience as a criminal defense lawyer. It hasn't been since Thurgood Marshall that anyone with criminal defense experience has been on the court," CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

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."

"Judge Jackson has everything. She is impeccably qualified by all the traditional measures," he added. "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."

9:33 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022

CNN obtains White House statement announcing "exceptionally qualified" Ketanji Brown Jackson as SCOTUS nominee

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny and Betsy Klein

President Biden will announce his intent to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court, the White House said in a statement obtained by CNN that will be sent to reporters in the next hour. 

Jackson “had broad experience across the legal profession,” the White House said in a statement, pointing to her career as a federal appellate judge, a federal district court judge, a member of the US Sentencing Commission, an attorney in private practice, and as a federal public defender.

The White House statement described Jackson as “an exceptionally qualified” and “historic” nominee, calling on the Senate to “move forward with a fair and timely hearing and confirmation.”

Biden, the White House said, “conducted a rigorous process” to identify Justice Stephen Breyer’s replacement. Breyer announced Jan. 27 he would retire, pending his successor’s confirmation.

“President Biden sought a candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law. He also sought a nominee—much like Justice Breyer—who is wise, pragmatic, and has a deep understanding of the Constitution as an enduring charter of liberty,” the White House said.

Biden also sought “an individual who is committed to equal justice under the law and who understands the profound impact that the Supreme Court’s decisions have on the lives of the American people.”

The White House noted that Biden sought the advice of both Democratic and Republican senators.

“He studied the histories and case records of candidates, consulted legal experts, and met with candidates,” the statement said.