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Ketanji Brown Jackson is on track to become the first Black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. Hence, she could be our next Supreme Court Justice.
Jackson, who serves on the US Court of Appeals for the DC circuit, received a call from President Biden Thursday offering her the nomination.
If confirmed, Jackson will also become the first public defender to sit on the Court since Thurgood Marshall. The profound nature of her nomination and the wisdom she will bring to the Supreme Court will undoubtedly help shape the future of the nation.
“I come from a background of public service,” Jackson said in her 2021 confirmation hearing.
“My parents were in public service, my brother was a police officer and (was) in the military. Being in the public defenders’ office felt very much like the opportunity to help with my skills and talents.”
Ketanji Brown Jackson’s life of public service
Judge Jackson was born Ketanji Onyika Brown in Washington, D.C. but grew up in Miami, FL. Her parents, both HBCU graduates, exemplified the life of public service that Jackson would later assume.
Her father served as the head attorney to the local school board and her mother was a school principal.
After graduating high school, Jackson went on to attend Harvard University where she graduated magna cum laude. After graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School, she worked as a clerk in law offices around the nation.
Eventually, Jackson would find herself serving as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Now, two decades later, she has been nominated to assume his seat once he retires.
Following her clerkships, Jackson’s career would lead her to become a federal defense attorney. According to The Washington Post, Jackson “won uncommon victories against the government that shortened or erased lengthy prison terms”.
It was this commitment to justice that caused President Barack Obama to take notice of Jackson’s work. In 2009, Obama tapped Jackson to become the Vice Chair of the US Sentencing Commission. During her five year tenure, the commission worked to significantly reduce sentencing disparities for drug-related crimes.
The Supreme Court Justice nominee has nearly a decade of experience on the federal bench
In 2013, President Obama nominated Jackson to serve as a federal judge on the US District Court for Washington, DC. At her confirmation hearing that year, former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is related to Jackson by marriage, introduced Jackson and offered her a full endorsement.
“Our politics may differ, but my praise for Ketanji’s intellect, for her character, for her integrity, it is unequivocal,” Ryan said.
During her time on the federal bench, both at a district and an appellate court level, Jackson has issued several critical opinions. These opinions have often sided with the immigrant community, workers and others. According to Bloomberg Law, of the more than 600 opinions that Jackson has written, only a dozen have ever been reversed.
One of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s more famous opinions came in response to former President Trump’s claims of “absolute immunity” during his first impeachment trial. Jackson ruled that top Trump officials were “certainly” required to respond to congressional subpoenas. “Presidents are not kings,” her opinion noted.
Biden calls Ketanji Brown Jackson “one of the nation’s brightest legal minds”
“She’s a history maker,” Biden said in a video released after his announcement of her nomination.
Biden called Jackson “an immensely qualified judge who’s going to help make our courts stronger and more reflective of our country.”
The president’s nomination of Jackson to the Supreme Court fulfills a promise he made on the campaign trail in early 2020. More importantly, it marks a watershed moment for the nation.
Biden will introduce Ketanji Brown Jackson at an event at the White House on Friday.