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In-depth: What's next for Ketanji Brown Jackson after Supreme Court nomination

If elected, Jackson will be first Black woman and public defender on the Supreme Court
Joe Biden
Posted at 6:24 AM, Feb 28, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. — President Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the process from now until her nomination is put up for a vote in the Senate could be a contentious one.

There have been 115 Supreme Court Justices, but if Jackson is elected to the bench, she will be the first African American woman to hold that title.

“My mother and father, who have been married for 54 years, are at their home in Florida right now, and I know that they could not be more proud,” said Jackson.

Jackson is starting a process that can be contentious for anyone vying for one of the most challenging positions to attain in our government — a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ketanji Brown Jackson
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is a U.S. Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, poses for a portrait, Friday, Feb., 18, 2022, in her office conference room at the court in Washington. President Joe Biden on Friday nominated federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman selected to serve on a court that once declared her race unworthy of citizenship and endorsed segregation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Dr. Susan MacManus, our ABC Action News political analyst, breaks down, step-by-step, the process after being nominated.

“Starting this week, or even next week, maybe, she will be interviewed by every U.S. Senator that wants to talk to her about her philosophy and so forth,” said MacManus.

After that, a Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to hold hearings.

“And those can be long and vigorous and tough,” said MacManus.

She said those hearings could last anywhere between a few weeks to a couple of months before the nomination is put up for a vote in the Senate.

“It all boils down to how partisan they want to get in the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said MacManus.

Right now, the Senate is split with 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats.

“All she needs is 51. She’s probably going to get all 50 Democrats, plus Kamala Harris can break a tie,” said MacManus.

Senators will also scrutinize her work experience.

“Where she went to law school, Harvard Law, what kind of cases has she ruled in, what has been her opinions that have gotten a lot of attention. They will go through everything,” said MacManus

Dr. MacManus said that besides her stellar credentials, the social implications of her potential appointment would be groundbreaking.

“She understands the important role that she’s going to play for Black women, young Black girls who are just looking at a role model like her and thinking ‘someday I can be that.’”

Dr. MacManus said something else that would be monumental if Jackson is elected to the court is that she would be the first Supreme Court Justice who was a public defender.