By GLAAD | April 7, 2022
Today in a bipartisan vote, the Senate confirmed the historic appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. Jackson is the first Black woman to be confirmed in the history of the court, and her confirmation fulfills a campaign promise made by President Joe Biden.
The vote total was 53–47 and was announced by Vice President Kamala Harris. The vote included yes votes from all 50 Senate Democrats and from three Republicans—Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Mitt Romney, and Sen. Susan Collins—and was met with cheers and applause from the chamber. Only Republicans voted against confirmation.
“LGBTQ rights are under attack all across this country, and today’s confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court is a critical step to ensure our hard-won progress is not reversed by those using the courts to fight outdated culture wars,” tweeted GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Judge Jackson’s experience and judicial temperament will make her one of the most qualified justices ever to serve on the Court. GLAAD congratulates Judge Jackson and our entire nation on this historic and long overdue representation.”
Judge Jackson’s career includes experience as a federal judge and a federal public defender, and staunch protector of essential civil and human rights important to LGBTQ Americans, including defending and upholding fair sentencing practices, disability rights, workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, reproductive justice, and environmental protections.
In confirmation hearings that lasted nearly 24 hours over four days, racist beliefs and QAnon conspiracy theories permeated speeches and hostile questioning by Republican senators. Several Republican senators used the hearings to target LGBTQ rights and people.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas twice criticized the landmark 2015 Obergefell marriage equality ruling, falsely claiming it was “a dramatic departure from previous laws” that contradicted “234 years” of history. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana questioned whether rulings like Obergefell are “justices interpreting the Constitution or are they just deciding a right when they get five votes.” As of June 2021, hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples have married since the Obergefell ruling and marriage equality is supported by a record high 70% of Americans, including a majority of Republicans. Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee repeatedly misgendered transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, baselessly claiming that trans women “steal opportunities.” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas falsely compared the process of transitioning genders to being able to change “from Hispanic to Asian.”
GLAAD’s 2022 LGBTQ Voter Pulse Poll, shows 50% of LGBTQ voters would be more motivated to vote in the November 2022 election by President Biden nominating a progressive, pro-LGBTQ justice for the Supreme Court vacancy.
Supreme Court decisions expanding and upholding LGBTQ equality include:
- Bostock v. Clayton County (2020) – expanded Civil Rights employment protections
- Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) – granted marriage equality
- United States v. Windsor (2013) – overturned the discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act”
- Lawrence v. Texas (2003)- secured the Constitutional right to privacy and dignity for LGBTQ people and relationships
- Romer v. Evans (1995) – struck down state laws banning LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections
Judge Jackson will be sworn into her new role upon the retirement of Associate Justice Steven Breyer, which is expected to happen at the end of the current term in June.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.