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Post Politics Now Biden gets history-making nominee Jackson on the Supreme Court

President Biden congratulates Ketanji Brown Jackson in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Thursday, moments after the Senate confirmed her to be the first Black woman to be a justice on the Supreme Court. (Oliver Contreras/for The Washington Post)
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Today, the Senate narrowly confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court with a 53-to-47 vote that made history and helped President Biden make good on a major campaign pledge. Jackson, 51, will be the first Black woman to sit on the nation’s highest court in its 233-year history. She will replace retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer at the end of the court’s current term. Three Republicans joined all 50 members of the Democratic caucus in supporting her nomination. The White House announced that Biden, Vice President Harris and Jackson would deliver remarks Friday afternoon at the White House.

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  • 10:45 a.m. Eastern: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) canceled her weekly news conference after her office announced that she tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • 1:45 p.m. Eastern: The Senate voted 53 to 47 to confirm Jackson to the Supreme Court.
  • 2:30 p.m. Eastern: White House press secretary Jen Psaki briefed reporters.

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4:10 p.m.
Headshot of Paul Kane
Senior congressional correspondent and columnist
Week in review on the Hill — Congress left town Thursday afternoon for a nearly 17-day spring break, notching a couple of big bipartisan victories to aid Ukraine, confirming a historic Supreme Court nominee and continuing to battle the pandemic in the most personal ways.Early Thursday, the Senate had back-to-back 100-to-0 votes to approve two bills designed to target Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. The first measure revokes a preferred trade status from Russia and its neighboring ally Belarus, putting them on a nation-state list of pariahs such as North Korea and Iran. The second bill reinforced the Biden administration’s move to suspend energy imports from Russia. In the House, a small bloc of Republicans deeply loyal to former president Donald Trump continued to oppose efforts to punish Putin. Three House Republicans opposed the trade bill, while seven opposed the energy ban; two Democrats joined the small group of Republicans on the second bill.The Senate voted to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court; the vote was 53 to 47. Three Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) — joined all 50 members of the Democratic caucus in backing Jackson.The recess cannot come soon enough for the internal Capitol battles with the coronavirus, in which lawmakers have been testing positive for weeks, even as the national infection rate remains relatively low. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that she tested positive Thursday morning, the 17th House Democrat to test positive in less than a month.
2:51 p.m.
Headshot of Paul Kane
Senior congressional correspondent and columnist
Where did Rand Paul go? — As the vote dragged on for more than 25 minutes — because Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was missing for most of the roll call — senators mingled on the floor and talked with about two dozen House members, predominantly from the Congressional Black Caucus, who were on hand to witness the historical vote. Finally, after Paul poked his head into the chamber from the GOP cloakroom, unable to come onto the Senate floor because he was in casual clothes, with no suit jacket or tie, he cast his vote, Vice President Harris called the 53-to-47 vote, and the room erupted in cheers.The gallery above, closed to the public for more than two years because of the pandemic, was about half filled, with aides to Democratic senators, as well as Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), one of just three GOP votes for Jackson, stood and cheered by himself, as most Republicans had given up on waiting for Paul and left the chamber floor. One by one Democrats came over to shake Romney’s hand, pat him on the back or hug him, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), one of just three Black senators.Standing next to Booker and Romney was the Rev. Barry Black, the 62nd chaplain of the Senate and the first Black clergyman to hold the post. Black, who rarely ventures on to the floor during votes, spoke a few words to Romney and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who also voted for Jackson, then shook Booker’s hand. A few minutes later former senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who served as the top White House adviser for the nomination, walked up to Black and gave him a big handshake to celebrate the confirmation vote.
1:52 p.m.
‘You are your father’s son’ — In praising Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) for his support of Jackson, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) on Thursday alluded to the senator’s father, George Romney, who, as governor of Michigan marched in support of racial equality in 1963. In June 2020, Mitt Romney joined protesters in marching to the White House in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
1:26 p.m.
Headshot of Tyler Pager
White House reporter
A historic day for America, a promise fulfilled by Biden — When the Senate confirms Jackson shortly, Biden will fulfill one of the most concrete promises he made as a presidential candidate — a pledge to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court — and Democrats are eager to tout the historic nature of Biden’s pick. But the president and his aides will also be satisfied that Jackson is receiving bipartisan support. Biden and the White House team overseeing Jackson’s confirmation put a particular emphasis on locking up Republican votes.
1:19 p.m.
Headshot of Robert Barnes
Reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court
Jackson could get a call later today — Although Justice Stephen G. Breyer called his former clerk Jackson to congratulate her when she was nominated, justices do not usually communicate with nominees until after the confirmation vote.The first call typically is from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.Justice Elena Kagan once remembered that when he called her just after her vote in 2010, he told her they would likely be working together for the next 25 years. “Only 25?” she responded.
12:41 p.m.
Headshot of Rosalind Helderman
Reporter focusing on political enterprise stories and investigations
Arizona’s attorney general weighs in on election fraud — Six months after being asked to review the findings of the Republican-commissioned review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county, the state’s Republican attorney general submitted an “interim” report of his findings Wednesday.The upshot: Attorney General Mark Brnovich said he had found “serious vulnerabilities” in the system that raised “questions about the 2020 election in Arizona.” But he identified no miscounted or miscast votes. And while he said his probe is ongoing, he identified no wrongdoing and announced no prosecutions.Brnovich, who is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, was in a tough spot politically. Former president Donald Trump and his allies had been pressing him to endorse their false claims that the election was stolen, including by finding people to prosecute.But Brnovich has previously said the election was fair. Brnovich’s letter went over about as well as such efforts typically do for Republicans who have tried to appease Trump without fully endorsing his view on the election: He was blasted by some hardcore Trump allies, while Maricopa County supervisors bemoaned a letter they said would only spread further doubt about democracy.
11:53 a.m.
Headshot of Annie Linskey
National reporter covering the White House.
Still testing negative? — It’s not completely unusual to feel some pangs of regret after Washington’s annual Gridiron Dinner, where journalists and top government officials mingle.Did I accidentally confuse Sen. Ed Markey with Sen. Tom Carper? Did anyone notice that I was the one to spill wine on the publisher’s wife? Was making a joke to Jerome Powell about rising interest rates a bad idea? (This reporter is responsible for just one of the above.)All that social anxiety was wiped away this year, replaced by something even less fun: health anxiety. Now the typical morning after, lightly apologetic texts and emails have been replaced with urgent inquiries about symptoms. The best possible response from a person, especially a person seated nearby for the four-hour dinner is: “I’m still testing negative.”
11:20 a.m.
Headshot of Robert Barnes
Reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court
The changing face of the court — If all goes according to plan for Jackson, it will mean a remarkably changed Supreme Court. For the first time, White men will not make up a majority.The oldest and longest-serving member of the court is Black. Four women will mean near-parity on the nine-member body. And in a government where the president is 79 and the speaker of the House is 82, the average age of a justice will be 61. (For a long time now, the court has been younger than the Rolling Stones.)
10:15 a.m.
Headshot of Robert Barnes
Reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court
Jackson won’t sit on the bench until October — If confirmed today, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson faces an odd interregnum. Justice Stephen G. Breyer has said he will not vacate his post until the court “rises” at the end of the term, probably late June or early July. But as soon as she is installed, Jackson will be called upon to decide emergency petitions to the court, an increasing part of its workload. And the justices meet in conference in September to sort through hundreds or thousands of petitions to select cases. The first day she should take her seat on the bench is Oct. 3.
9:09 a.m.
‘Advice and consent’ role puts senators in their seats — Senators are expected to be in their seats in the chamber when they vote later today on confirming Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.It’s a rare sight for Senate votes, as most roll calls look like Grand Central Terminal at rush hour, with senators walking in through the various doors, casting their vote and leaving, or chatting in the well of the Senate or at their desks in small huddles.The Senate considers giving its “advice and consent” on a Supreme Court nominee to be a significant power that calls for greater respect for the process of voting. One of the last times senators sat in the chamber to vote was when they acquitted Donald Trump last year on the impeachment charge of inciting the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.
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