WATCH: Sen. Blumenthal’s opening statement in Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings

The Senate Judiciary Committee opened Supreme Court confirmation hearings Monday, with Republicans promising pointed questions for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and Democrats full of praise for the first Black woman nominated for the nation’s highest court.

WATCH LIVE: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings — Day 1

Jackson, 51, was to give her opening statement later Monday and answer questions on Tuesday and Wednesday from the panel’s 11 Democratic and 11 Republican senators.

Barring a significant misstep by the 51-year-old Jackson, a federal judge for the past nine years, Democrats who control the Senate by the slimmest of margins intend to wrap up her confirmation before Easter. She would be the third Black justice, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, as well as the first Black woman on the high court.

Democrats sought to preemptively rebut Republican criticism of her record on criminal matters as a judge and before that, as a federal public defender and a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

“The appointment of a black woman to the United States Supreme Court, let’s be very blunt, should have happened years ago,” said Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. “This day is a giant leap into the present for our country and for the court.”

Hawaiian Senator Mazie Hirono said, it was “about time,”that we have a “highly qualified, highly accomplished black woman on the Supreme Court.”

Jackson’s testimony will give most Americans, as well as the Senate, their most extensive look yet at the Harvard-trained lawyer with a resume that includes two years as a federal public defender. That makes her the first nominee with significant criminal defense experience since Marshall.

Biden chose Jackson in February, fulfilling a campaign pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court for the first time in American history. She would take the seat of Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced in January that he would retire this summer after 28 years on the court.

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