If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Black woman to sit on the bench of the nation’s highest court. Jackson could be the Supreme Court’s third Black justice, and the sixth woman to become a Supreme Court justice. She would replace retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer.
The full Senate is expected to vote on Jackson’s nomination before the Senate adjourns for Easter recess on April 8. To sit on the Supreme Court bench, Jackson needs 51 votes in the Senate, which is evenly divided between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. If there is a second tie, Vice President Kamala Harris would serve as the tie-breaker. That situation is unlikely because Jackson has the backing of at least one Republican senator, Susan Collins of Maine.
Throughout Jackson’s hearings, pro-life groups have expressed concern over Jackson’s record on abortion. In addition to having the support of abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood for her nomination, Jackson co-authored a 2001 amicus brief in McGuire v. Reilly in support of a Massachusetts “buffer zone” law that prevented pro-life sidewalk counselors from approaching women outside of abortion clinics, according to Susan B. Anthony List.
A coalition of pro-life leaders warned Senate leaders that, in this brief that Jackson wrote on behalf of abortion groups, she “portrayed pro-life sidewalk counselors as a ‘hostile, noisy crowd of 'in-your-face protesters.’”
Jackson defended herself during the hearings, saying, “That was a statement in a brief, made an argument for my client, it’s not the way that I think of or characterize people.”
On the final day of Jackson’s hearings, 85-year-old Eleanor McCullen, a Catholic pro-life sidewalk counselor from Massachusetts, shared her perspective with senators.
“Her misrepresentations certainly don’t describe me or any of the sidewalk counselors that I have worked with over the years,” McCullen said of Jackson.
Ahead of Monday's committee vote — which was delayed by three hours due to flight compilations for Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) — roughly 35 pro-life students with the pro-life group Students for Life of America gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., to protest Jackson’s nomination. The students wore lab coats, in reference to a remark Jackson made after she was asked to define “woman.” At the time, Jackson responded, “I’m not a biologist.”
“We were just wearing the lab coats to make the statement that, I guess, we’re all biologists because we know what a woman is,” Grace Rykaczewski, 21, of Morristown, New Jersey, told CNA.
Rykaczewski, who studies music education at Rider University, said she woke up at 4 a.m. to drive to the court on Monday.
“We want to have pro-life Supreme Court justices and we think that it is ridiculous that they would put someone on the highest court of the land who doesn’t even know how to define the word ‘woman,’ doesn’t know when life begins,” she said, referencing another question Jackson was asked during her hearings.
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She added, “How are you supposed to protect women and even children when you don’t know when life begins or what a woman is?”