Ketanji Brown Jackson live updates: Senate votes to end debate

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(WASHINGTON) — Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in its 233-year history, is poised for Senate confirmation on Thursday afternoon.

She is expected to secure at least three Republican votes, marking a bipartisan victory for President Joe Biden’s high court nominee.

Here is how the news is developing Thursday. Check back for updates:

Apr 07, 12:35 pm
Jackson clears key test vote

The Senate has voted 53-47 to limit debate on Judge Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, paving the way for a final confirmation vote later in the afternoon.

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A beaming Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who praised Jackson as “worthy” in an emotional soliloquy during her confirmation hearings, presided over the Senate chamber for the cloture vote.

Because the Senate filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominations was modified by Senate Republicans in 2017, Judge Jackson’s nomination requires only a simple majority, or 51 senators, in both votes Thursday.

Since her formal nomination 42 days ago, Jackson held one-on-one meetings with 97 senators on Capitol Hill, according to the White House.

-ABC News’ Devin Dwyer

Apr 07, 12:34 pm
Harris to preside over confirmation vote

Vice President Kamala Harris will head to the Capitol later Thursday to preside over the Senate for Judge Jackson’s historic confirmation vote.

“This afternoon, with the United States Senate poised to make history by voting for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court, the Vice President will travel to the U.S. Capitol. The Vice President believes Judge Jackson will be an exceptional Supreme Court Justice, and she looks forward to presiding over the Senate to mark this important moment,” the White House said in a statement.

Harris, the nation’s first Black and first female vice president, will announce the final vote for Jackson, the first Black woman to be considered to the Supreme Court and, if confirmed, to sit on the high bench in its 233-year history.

Jackson is expected to watch final speeches and the roll call vote with her family in Washington.

-ABC News’ Devin Dwyer

Apr 07, 11:39 am
McConnell casts ‘judicial activism’ as threat to court

Just hours ahead of Judge Jackson’s expected Senate confirmation, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted what he called “judicial activism” as a threat to the court as an institution in remarks on the Senate floor.

“We’ve seen over and over that when judicial activism triumphs over fidelity to the rule of law, our courts mutate into clumsy proxy battlefields for arguments that belong in this chamber,” McConnell said, as Republicans have attempted to characterize Jackson as sympathetic to progressive causes.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, April 5, 2022. Earlier, three Republican senators broke from their party to support Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic nomination to the Supreme Court.

The GOP leader, again, slammed Jackson for failing to commit to opposing the Supreme Court’s expansion when she was asked about her views of court-packing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“The solution is for all the justices to stay in their lane. There is one right number of justices who seek to follow the law. The number is nine. Ginsburg said it. Breyer said it. There is one right number of judges who seek to make policy,” McConnell said.

Notably, Jackson, in her confirmation hearings, repeated variations of the message that she intends to “stay in my lane,” if confirmed to the high court.

McConnell conceded Thursday that Jackson is barreling towards confirmation and pledged that Republicans will recognize her legitimacy as a justice — seemingly needling Democrats for their handling of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“Nevertheless, our Democratic colleagues are on track to confirm our next supreme Court justice,” McConnell said. “And you know what won’t happen: Top Republicans will not imply she is illegitimate we will not call for court-packing I won’t be joining any mobs outside her new workplace and threatening her by name.”

-ABC News’ Allison Pecorin

Apr 07, 11:04 am
Schumer praises Jackson’s place in history ahead of key vote

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the vote to end debate on Judge Jackson’s nomination is on track for the 11 a.m. hour ahead of the historic confirmation vote around 1:45 p.m.

“The Senate gavels in this morning for a joyous, momentous, groundbreaking day,” Schumer said from the Senate chamber. “This morning, we will vote to end debate on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be a justice on the United States Supreme Court. And later this afternoon, the Senate will fulfill its constitutional duty to finally confirm this remarkable and groundbreaking jurist.”

Schumer praised Jackson as encapsulating the “three Bs” — brilliant, beloved and belonging on the Supreme Court — and said the nation is long overdue to have a Black woman sit on the high bench.

“In the 233-year history of the Supreme Court never, never has a Black woman held the title of justice. Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first, and I believe the first of more to come,” Schumer said.

“This milestone should have happened generations ago,” he added, “but we are always trotting on a path towards a more perfect union.”

“Nevertheless, America today is taking a giant step towards making our union more perfect. People sometimes talk about standing on the shoulder of giants. Well, Judge Jackson will go down in history as an American giant upon whose shoulders others will stand tall — and our democracy will be better off for it.”

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