On Thursday (April 7), the United States Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Jackson was confirmed by a 53-47 vote, with three Republicans joining every Senate Democrat in supporting the appointment.
Set to replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Jackson will become the sixth woman to ever serve on the country’s highest court. She will become the third Black justice to serve, and the very first Black woman to become a Supreme Court justice.
While Jackson was able to win three Republican votes, the confirmation process has been marked by a number of controversies. Jackson’s detractors have accused her of being lenient in sentencing sex offenders and have expressed suspicion that she may be an advocate of critical race theory. Jackson sought to refute both claims during her confirmation hearings.
Conservatives and pro-life advocates have also expressed grave concerns about how Jackson may rule in cases involving abortion. Though she has not publicly expressed how she may interpret the law in such cases, she was nominated by President Joe Biden, who has been vocal about his express goal of codifying Roe v. Wade.
Despite these concerns, Jackson’s appointment has been lauded, even among some conservatives, as a pivotal moment for diversity and inclusion on the nation’s highest court.
The SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) tweeted a quote from acting president Brent Leatherwood regarding the historic nature of the appointment, which was originally given in a news story.
“Despite the philosophical and legal differences individuals like me will have with her, Judge Jackson’s confirmation is a history-making moment. We should appreciate it as such,” Leatherwood said. “If we lose the ability to do that, we lose something that makes America an exceptional nation.”
“I pray that as she joins the nation’s highest court, she will decide cases about human dignity, religious liberty, and protection of the family based on the fundamental principles of our country,” Leatherwood went on to say.
The statement sparked debate online, with some Southern Baptist leaders calling for the defunding or dissolution of the ERLC. As the public policy arm of the SBC, the ERLC is funded by contributions local Southern Baptist churches make to the Cooperative Program.
“If your church hasn’t defunded the @ERLC by now, what are you waiting for,” said Texas SBC pastor Tom Buck. Others compared Jackson’s appointment to the “history-making” actions of dictators like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.