Jackson Says U.S. 'Greatest Beacon of Hope' as Historic Confirmation Begins

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson made history Friday as the first Black woman to ever be nominated to serve on the Supreme Court after President Joe Biden tapped her to fill the seat that is being vacated by retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

"The United States of America is the greatest beacon of hope and democracy the world has ever known," Judge Jackson said from the Cross Hall of the White House after being introduced by the president.

Breyer, 84, faced calls from liberals to step down while Democrats have control of Congress and the presidency. He will retire at the end of the 2021-2022 term.

Judge Jackson will need the support of a simple majority of the U.S. Senate in order to be confirmed to the high court. If all 48 Democrat and two independents who caucus with them support her, Biden won't need any Republican votes to confirm her as Vice President Kamala Harris can step in as the tie-breaker.

As with much of the president's agenda, all eyes will presumably be on Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema as the confirmation process proceeds. The two moderate Democrats have opposed some of the Democrats' key priorities, but they've been reliable "yes" votes on the president's judicial nominees so far.

Manchin and Sinema voted to confirm Judge Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

Sinema said in a statement Friday that Judge Jackson's nomination represents a "historic milestone" for the country. She also said she takes her role to "thoughtfully consider" nominees seriously, and that she looks forward to meeting with her.

Jackson Calls U.S. 'Greatest Beacon of Hope'
Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, makes brief remarks after President Joe Biden introduced her as his nominee to the Supreme Court during an event in the Cross Hall of the White House on February 25, in Washington, DC. Pending confirmation, Judge Jackson would succeed retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and become the first-ever Black woman to serve on the high court. Drew Angerer/GETTY IMAGES

Manchin issued a similar response, writing on Twitter, "I look forward to meeting with Judge Jackson before determining whether to provide my consent."

There were also three Republicans who supported Judge Jackson during her circuit court nomination: Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and Lisa Murkowski.

Graham, though, suggested Friday that her nomination was a victory for the "radical left." The South Carolina senator had urged Biden to select Judge J. Michelle Childs to fill the seat being vacated by Breyer.

"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," Graham tweeted. "The attacks by the Left on Judge Childs from South Carolina apparently worked."

Biden said during the nomination Friday that Judge Jackson deserves to be confirmed as the next justice to the Supreme Court.

"I've met with the chairman and ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Chuck Grassley, and the hope is that they will move promptly, and I know they'll move fairly," the president said.

Judge Jackson, who clerked for Breyer, also had a message for her former boss.

"Justice Breyer: The members of the Senate will decide if I fill your seat, but please know that I could never fill your shoes," she said.