Jackson would be first black woman to sit on Supreme Court


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson after being nominated to the Supreme Court by President Joe Biden (background).

President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 25, after current Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, at age 83 after 28 years on the Supreme Court, announced his impending retirement. In Breyer’s statement to Biden, he detailed that he will step down “when the Court rises for the summer recess this year…assuming that by then my successor has been nominated and confirmed.” If Jackson is confirmed by the United States Senate, she will be the first black woman to hold a seat on the Supreme Court.

Jackson was born on Sept. 14, 1970, in Washington, D.C., although she attended high school in Miami, Florida. Jackson went to Harvard University and Harvard Law school, graduating in 1996. She had different jobs following her graduation, including three federal clerkships, jobs at four elite law firms, and two stints with the United States Sentencing Commission. 

Much of the experience she had in her early career is typical for Supreme Court Justices. However, her mid-career decision to spend two years as a public defender is not typical of a Supreme Court justice. The last justice with extensive experience representing criminal defendants was Justice Thurgood Marshall, who retired in 1991. 

Jackson currently serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. According to ballotpedia.org, “Jackson was nominated to the court by President Joe Biden (D) on April 19, 2021, and confirmed by the United States Senate on June 14, 2021, by a vote of 53-44.”

​​“For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America,” Biden said when nominating Jackson to be the first black woman to sit on the Supreme Court. “I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications, and that we inspire all young people to believe that they can one day serve their country at the highest level.”

Biden added that Jackson’s opinions “are always carefully reasoned, tethered to precedent and demonstrate respect for how the law impacts everyday people. She cares about making sure that our democracy works for the American people. She listens. She looks people in the eye – lawyers, defendants, victims, and families – and she strives to ensure that everyone understands why she made a decision, what the law is, and what it means to them. She strives to be fair, to get it right, to do justice.”

Democratic lawmakers are celebrating Biden’s nomination: however, Republicans seem unhappy with the nomination. ​​”Republicans seemed intent on making clear that they would treat Judge Jackson with respect and conduct dignified proceedings, even though most are likely to oppose her elevation to the high court,” reports The New York Times. “They said they were determined not to emulate the tactics of Democrats, who they contend were unfair to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing in 2018, when they aired allegations of past sexual misconduct.”

According to scotusblog.com, “The Republican National Committee [RNC] called Jackson a radical, left-wing activist who would rubberstamp Biden’s disastrous agenda.’ The RNC also called her a ‘Democrat partisan’ and described her work as a lawyer representing people detained at Guantánamo Bay as ‘defending terrorists.’”

Although Republicans believe Jackson is “too radical,” they vow to give her a fair, extensive review before confirming her to the Supreme Court. Regardles, Democrats are celebrating Jackson as a judicial hero and someone who has dedicated her life to justice and creating a fair and equal U.S. society.