The Senate on Monday confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson as President Joe Biden‘s first appointee to the federal appellate court bench, replacing now-Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The Senate voted 53-44 to confirm Jackson to the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, seen as the most influential panel in the country behind only the Supreme Court.
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined unanimous Democrats to confirm Jackson, a 50-year-old Black female jurist who was first appointed to the U.S. District Court in Washington by President Barack Obama in 2013.
“Judge Jackson is the first of many circuit court nominees that we will confirm during this Congress,” Sen. Richard Durbin said in remarks on the Senate floor. “Given her credentials and record on the bench, she is a nominee who deserves the support of senators on both sides of the aisle.
Jackson, who grew up in Miami and earned a law degree from Harvard University, clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer at the Supreme Court and served as a public defender in Washington D.C.
She also was a key member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission under Obama.
Jackson is probably best known for a 2019 opinion in which she ruled that former White House counsel Don McGahn was obligated to comply with a subpoena issued by House Democrats during their investigation of allegations that President Donald Trump obstructed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The D.C. appellate court has frequently served as a stepping stone for a position at the nation’s highest court — current Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh have made such moves.