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Brown-Jackson’s confirmation offers Biden a much-needed bright spot

Joe Biden adjusted his aviator glasses, slowly put his hands in his pockets, then pulled them out to clap Ketanji Brown Jackson delivered the defining words of the celebration of her rise to the Supreme Court.

“I am the dream and the hope of the slave,” the 51-year-old judge said on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday, citing the late black poet Maya Angelou.

“We’ve come a long way to perfect our union,” she added, her voice cracking with emotion. “It only took my family a generation to go from segregation to the United States Supreme Court.”

Brown-Jackson spoke as the first black woman to be confirmed at the highest level of the judiciary in America’s 233-year history. The US Senate endorsed her nomination Thursday with support from all 50 Democratic senators plus three Republicans who opposed their party’s opposition; She will take her place after Judge Stephen Breyer retires later this year.

Achieving such a milestone was a major accomplishment for Biden – something he had promised since his presidential campaign against Donald Trump.

It also provided a much-needed ray of political sunlight at a time when his presidency continues to be marred by unshakably low approval ratings, the weight of managing the Western response to the war in Ukraine, and his frustration with high inflation stifling U.S. economic recovery undermines, is shaped.

“It was an uplifting moment for everyone involved,” said Ben LaBolt, a former spokesman for Barack Obama who was brought into the White House as an adviser on Brown-Jackson’s confirmation. “[Biden] prepared for this day for a long time and carried out a very considered, careful process with a very experienced team. And that’s how history is made.”

Biden climbed onto the presidential podium at the end of another rocky week in Washington. Several cabinet members and senior officials have tested positive for Covid-19, a sign of the pandemic’s persistence, while grim details of Russian forces’ gruesome attacks on Ukrainian civilians dominated international headlines.

The US President has been on the defensive about his domestic record for months. Critics have blasted his original $1.9 trillion stimulus plan for overheating the economy, and while he passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan last year, other legislative dreams lie ahead of his party’s at heart – from protecting voting rights to raising taxes for the rich – in tatters.

But on Friday afternoon, under a clear sky, Biden began his own remarks by saying Brown-Jackson’s endorsement would “shine the sun on so many young women, so many young black women, so many minorities.”

The US President specifically praised Brown-Jackson’s “character and integrity” in the six weeks since she was formally selected after enduring relentless attacks republican.

“I knew that the person I nominated was going to go through a painful and difficult confirmation process. But I have to tell you, what Judge Jackson went through went way beyond that,” Biden said. “It was the abuse, the anger, the constant interruptions, the most heinous, baseless claims and accusations.”

Brown-Jackson’s confirmation is a buoyant boost for Democrats on the justice front, after Donald Trump and Senate Republicans successfully blocked Barack Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee in 2016, and then admitted Donald Trump’s three nominees to the Supreme Court and with it decisively strengthened its conservative majority.

In an ideal world for Democrats, her confirmation could help bolster the progressive base ahead of a very challenging midterm election later this year, in which Biden’s party is expected to lose its barely held control of Congress.

Additionally, the effectiveness with which the White House and Senate Democrats have won Brown-Jackson’s confirmation in recent weeks may also offer hope for Biden’s administration after infighting and turmoil in the second half of 2021 sinks key pillars of his economic agenda had.

Biden specifically thanked Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin, the two leading Senate Democrats, for leading Brown-Jackson’s confirmation, as well as Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney, the three Republicans who crossed the aisle and voted for Brown-Jackson.

“I really admire the respect, care and hard work they have shown throughout the process,” he said.

But for Biden and his top officials, there was a sense of relief that no matter what happens with their legislative agenda, they had at least left a lasting stamp on the American government with this landmark lifetime appointment.

“I’m going to try not to cry ugly over this day that we all did out on the South Lawn,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters after the event. “The story can be heartbreaking and has been for many days. History can be exhausting and for many days it was. And history can be happy. And today was a happy day in history.”

https://www.ft.com/content/1102df49-b7b0-452e-9157-50b25b884c9f Brown-Jackson’s confirmation offers Biden a much-needed bright spot

Adam Bradshaw

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