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In a momentous moment for the nation, the confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the 116th judge and first Black woman to be named to the U.S. Supreme Court have begun.

The Senate Judiciary Committee opened the hearings for Jackson’s confirmation process on Monday morning (March 21st) to a thoroughly packed house on Capitol Hill. Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden after Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced that he would be retiring last month. The decision by the 83-year old judge paved the way for Biden to make good on his 2020 presidential campaign promise of nominating a Black woman to the highest court in the nation, and it has set up a potentially taut battle along partisan lines between Democratic and Republican senators.

Jackson, 51, was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last year after serving as a judge in Washington for eight years, making it the third time the Senate voted to confirm her to a federal post. Jackson, who was raised in Miami, Florida, served as a clerk for the retiring Justice Breyer after graduating from Harvard University Law School.  While it is expected that all of the 50 Democratic senators will vote to confirm her to the Supreme Court bench, there is some concern that Republican senators will take the opportunity to disparage her credentials by zeroing in on her years as a public defender during the Q&A period set to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have previewed their possible attacks in the days leading up to the hearing, and right-wing pundit Tucker Carlson has been particularly vile in attacking Jackson’s intelligence on his Fox News primetime show.

However, during the opening statements by the Judiciary Committee, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) expressed to Jackson that she “will not be vilified” by members of the committee. The Democrats’ slim voting majority (with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote) is also expected to be bolstered by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) and Susan Collins (R-ME), though neither have offered any firm commitment to that vote beforehand. Jackson’s nomination has been strongly supported by various organizations, including the National Fraternal Order of Police. Many supporters point to her outstanding body of judicial experience, which includes having both trial and appellate experiences which is only matched by Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court as a reason her confirmation should go smoothly.

Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Begin For Ketanji Brown Jackson  was originally published on hiphopwired.com