U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) (not pictured), on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 28, 2022.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, making her the 116th justice — and the first Black woman — to serve on the top U.S. court.
The 53-47 final vote tally showed bipartisan support for Jackson, with three Republicans joining all Democrats to elevate the 51-year-old federal judge to a lifetime appointment on the high court.
“This is a great moment for Judge Jackson, but it is a greater moment for America as we rise to a more perfect union,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said before the vote.
Jackson is President Joe Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee. She will replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, who was confirmed to the bench in 1994.
Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman ever to hold that title, presided over the vote to confirm Jackson. Harris appeared to momentarily choke up with emotion as she read out the vote result, which drew a swell of applause and cheering from the Senate floor.
Jackson will join a court that has grown substantially more conservative following the appointment of three of former President Donald Trump’s nominees. Her addition will maintain the size of the court’s liberal wing, which is outnumbered 6-3 by the conservative bloc.
US President Joe Biden and judge Ketanji Brown Jackson watch the Senate vote on her nomination to an an associate justice on the US Supreme Court, from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on April 7, 2022.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
Just five women — Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett — have served on the Supreme Court. Only two Black men, Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, have ever been appointed to the bench. No Black women have previously sat on the high court.
Jackson is also set to become the first Supreme Court justice to have served as a public defender. Democrats have touted that experience as more evidence that Jackson will bring fresh perspective to the historically homogeneous court.
Republicans, however, have tried to wield Jackson’s public-defender experience against her by accusing her of sympathizing with the views or actions of some of her past clients.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., was criticized for remarking Tuesday on the Senate floor that while former Justice Robert Jackson “left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and prosecute the case against the Nazis … this Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them.”
Jackson fielded that criticism and others during more than 23 hours of questioning over two grueling days of confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.
While her qualifications and temperament were rarely questioned, Republicans tore into Jackson’s judicial record, arguing that her rulings show a willingness to legislate from the bench. They also focused intently on her sentencing record in a handful of child-pornography cases, accusing her of doling out light punishments to those offenders.
Fact-checkers have disputed that characterization, and Democratic committee members pushed back aggressively against the Republicans’ criticisms.
Members of the American Bar Association, which unanimously awarded Jackson its top rating of “Well Qualified,” also defended Jackson’s record during her confirmation hearings.
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IMF hikes global growth forecast as inflation cools
The IMF has revised its global economic outlook upwards.
Norberto Duarte | Afp | Getty Images
The International Monetary Fund on Monday revised upward its global growth projections for the year, but warned that higher interest rates and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would likely still weigh on activity.
In its latest economic update, the institution said the global economy will grow 2.9% this year — which represents a 0.2 percentage point improvement from its previous forecast in October. However, it said that number would still mean a fall from an expansion of 3.4% in 2022.
It also revised its projection for 2024 down to 3.1%.
“Growth will remain weak by historical standards, as the fight against inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine weigh on activity,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, director of the research department at the IMF, said in a blog post.
The Fund turned more positive on the global economy due to better-than-expected domestic factors in several countries, such as the United States.
“Economic growth proved surprisingly resilient in the third quarter of last year, with strong labor markets, robust household consumption and business investment, and better-than-expected adaptation to the energy crisis in Europe,” Gourinchas said, also noting that inflationary pressures have come down.
In addition, China announced the reopening of its economy after strict Covid-19 lockdowns, which is expected to contribute to higher global growth. A weaker U.S. dollar has also brightened the prospects for emerging countries that hold debt in foreign currency.
However, the picture isn’t totally positive. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned earlier this month that the economy was not as bad as some feared, “but less bad doesn’t quite yet mean good.”
“We have to be cautious,” she said during a CNBC-moderated panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The IMF on Monday warned of several factors that could deteriorate the outlook in the coming months. These included the fact that China’s Covid reopening could stall; inflation could remain high; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could shake energy and food costs even further; and markets could turn sour on worse-than-expected inflation prints.
IMF calculations say that about 84% of nations will face lower headline inflation this year compared to 2022, but they still forecast an annual average rate of 6.6% in 2023 and of 4.3% in 2024.
As such, the Washington, D.C.-based institution said one of the main policy priorities is that central banks keep addressing the surge in consumer prices.
“Clear central bank communication and appropriate reactions to shifts in the data will help keep inflation expectations anchored and lessen wage and price pressures,” the IMF said in its latest report.
“Central banks’ balance sheets will need to be unwound carefully, amid market liquidity risks,” it added.
Most Adani shares continue losses; founder loses $28 billion in month
Gautam Adani, chairperson of Indian conglomerate Adani Group, at the World Congress of Accountants in Mumbai on Nov. 19, 2022. Founder Gautam Adani, the richest man in Asia and once second only to Elon Musk, fell out of the world’s top five richest to rank seventh on the Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.
Indranil Mukherjee | Afp | Getty Images
Shares of most of Adani Group companies continued to see sharp losses for a third consecutive trading session as the company attempted to rebut short seller firm Hindenburg’s report, which accused the conglomerate of stock manipulation and an “accounting fraud scheme.”
Adani Enterprises erased earlier gains of up to 10% and last traded flat in Mumbai’s afternoon trade after the group published a lengthy response of over 400 pages to Hindenburg’s report over the weekend, saying that it will exercise its rights to “pursue remedies” to protect its investors “before all appropriate authorities.”
Adani Enterprises’ stock price remains more than 25% lower in the month to date, Refinitiv data showed. It proceeded with a secondary share sale worth $2.5 billion, which were overshadowed by a rout that wiped out a total of $48 billion as of last week’s close.
His net worth fell $27.9 billion year to date, the index showed. It peaked at $150 billion on Sept. 20, 2022, before falling to to $92.7 billion as of last week’s close, according to the index.
Despite small gains seen in Adani Enterprises, other affiliates of the Adani Group continued to plunge.
Adani Group said Hindenburg’s allegations were a “calculated attack on India, independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and growth story and ambition of India,” in the response it released over the weekend.
The group’s chief financial officer Jugeshinder Singh said in an interview with CNBC-TV18, an affiliate of CNBC, that the value of Adani Enterprises has not changed “simply because” of share price volatility, adding it instead lies in its “ability to incubate new businesses.”
He added that he is confident Adani Enterprises‘ follow-on public offering will be fully subscribed, calling Hindenburg’s report “simply a lie” and the timing of the report “malicious.”
Hindenburg on Monday morning described the group’s response “bloated” and claimed it “ignores every key allegation” against the conglomerate that it raised.
“Fraud cannot be obfuscated by nationalism of a bloated response that ignores every key allegation we raised,” the short seller titled its response to Adani Group.
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