PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Lawmakers from around the Pacific Northwest shared their thoughts after the Senate voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black female Supreme Court Justice on Thursday.
The confirmation vote came mostly along party lines, with three Republicans joining a uniform voting bloc of Democrats in a 53-47 tally.
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) voted in favor, calling Jackson’s confirmation an action that “makes the bench look more like America.”
Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley also voted to confirm Jackson. He told KOIN 6 News he approved of Jackson’s prior experience as a public defender.
“She would bring a powerfully important perspective of somebody who has worked to make sure that those who are accused get a competent defense,” Merkley said. “We have so many people serving as judges who served as prosecutors and that’s important and valuable, but so few that understand that you don’t have justice, after all you’re innocent until proven guilty, if you don’t have competent defense.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee congratulated the newly confirmed justice on Twitter.
Below are full statements from Pacific Northwest politicians:
Gov. Kate Brown tweeted:
“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a talented and experienced jurist who will make an exceptional Supreme Court Justice. Thank you to the bipartisan group of senators who voted for her confirmation. This is a historic day for all Americans, with one more glass ceiling broken.“
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-OR), tweeted saying:
“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is one of the most qualified nominees I’ve seen, and will be a critically important voice on the Supreme Court. This is a historic day for our country, and a significant step in the battle to defend Americans’ rights for years to come.”
Merkley’s office released the following statement:
“Carved in stone in the Supreme Court building are the words ‘Equal Justice Under Law,’ and there is no more important quality in a justice than their ability to deliver on that promise. Justice Jackson’s ability to do just that is why I so enthusiastically supported her confirmation.
“All branches of government have a responsibility to defend government ‘of, by, and for the People’, not ‘of, by, and for the Powerful.’ The Supreme Court is an important piece of our We the People government, and there is no justice system without it.
“Justice Jackson has the experience, background, and perspective to be an effective justice. Her academic training, diversity of life experiences, and professional practice have all prepared her to make the Court better equipped to understand and deliver justice for all Americans, no matter what they look like, where they come from, or which side of the tracks they happen to live on.
“And I hope, just as importantly, that Justice Jackson’s confirmation will inspire Americans of all generations and all backgrounds, but especially young Black girls, to reach for their highest potential, pursue their dreams, and imagine – and work for – a more just society. Today is a momentous and joyous day in the history of our nation.”
Cantwell’s office released the following statement:
“History is being made in the United States of America. We will have a new Justice on the highest court of the land that makes the bench look more like America.
“All women and women of color should be so proud of this moment. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson will be a strong supporter of our privacy rights, and her history as both a public defender and a federal judge makes her uniquely and extraordinarily qualified.”
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) tweeted:
“Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Today is a truly historic day. I am so proud to have voted to confirm her to the Supreme Court.”
U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR 1st, tweeted:
“Congratulations to United States Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on her historic confirmation! Her breadth of experience, wisdom, and integrity will benefit our nation for generations.“