• Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

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Kamala Harris Presided Over Jackson’s Confirmation, but No Black Women Had a Vote

Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to hold the position and one of just 11 Black senators in American history, presided over the vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court — one historic figure presiding over the elevation of another.

But no Black woman had the opportunity to vote for the barrier-breaking nominee: None is currently a member of the 100-person chamber, which includes three Black men.

In the early stages of Judge Jackson’s confirmation process, Democrats and White House officials had worried that she could be the first nominee in history to be confirmed with a tiebreaking vote by a vice president, if Republicans united against her. But in the end, Ms. Harris’s vote was not needed to break a tie in the evenly divided Senate because three Republicans — Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — supported the judge.

Still, her presence was striking in a chamber that is still mostly white and male.

Of the 100 senators, only 11 lawmakers identify as either Hispanic American, Asian American or Black in a Congress that is the most racially and ethnically diverse in history.

The three Black men who serve in the Senate — Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Raphael Warnock of Georgia — cast votes. Mr. Booker and Mr. Warnock, both Democrats, spoke of their joy they felt in supporting Judge Jackson’s nomination.

Mr. Scott, a Republican, said he would oppose her based on her judicial philosophy, though he acknowledged the historic nature of her confirmation.

Before the vote, more than two dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus filed into the chamber to listen to the final speeches and watch the proceedings.