Ketanji Brown Jackson, confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Monday, is shown testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 28. File photo by Kevin Lamarque/UPI/Pool | License Photo
June 14 (UPI) -- The Senate on Monday confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson as President Joe Biden's first appointee to the federal appellate court bench, replacing now-Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The Senate voted 53-44 to confirm Jackson to the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, seen as the most influential panel in the country behind only the Supreme Court.
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined unanimous Democrats in favor of confirming Jackson, a 50-year-old Black female jurist who was first appointed to the U.S. District Court in Washington by President Barack Obama in 2013.
"Judge Jackson is the first of many circuit court nominees that we will confirm during this Congress," Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said in remarks on the Senate floor. "Given her credentials and record on the bench, she is a nominee who deserves the support of senators on both sides of the aisle."
Jackson, who grew up in Miami and earned a law degree from Harvard University, clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer at the Supreme Court and served as a public defender in Washington D.C.
She also was a key member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission under Obama.
Jackson is probably best known for a 2019 opinion in which she ruled that former White House counsel Don McGahn was obligated to comply with a subpoena issued by House Democrats during their investigation of allegations that President Donald Trump obstructed special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The D.C. appellate court has frequently served as a stepping stone for a position at the nation's highest court -- current Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh have made such moves.
Jackson's confirmation comes the Biden administration is seeking to confirm more judges after former President Donald Trump, with the help of Senate Republicans, succeeded in sending a record 54 appellate court judges to the bench during his time in office.
"We will move more swiftly to confirm even more of the president's appointments, including several to the federal bench," Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said on the Senate floor.
"Women, especially women of color, have long been under-represented on the federal bench. Along with President Biden, the Senate Democratic majority is working quickly to close the gap," he added.
Members of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the court in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Seated, from left to right, are Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing, from left to right, are Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Pool Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo