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Following hours of opening statements from Democratic and Republican senators of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson finally broke her silence in an opening statement on Monday afternoon.
“During this hearing, I hope that you will see how much I love our country and the Constitution and the rights that make us free,” Ketanji Brown Jackson said, addressing the Committee.
After back and forth opening statements between Democrats who listed her experience and Republicans who expressed their concerns, Jackson began her opening statement by thanking all the people in her life who helped her reach this point.
“I’m also very thankful for the confidence that President Biden has placed in me,” Jackson said.
A dream almost fulfilled
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 from Harvard Law School with honors, Jackson has gone on to become a court clerk, federal public defender, and district judge. Currently, she serves on the US Court of Appeals for the DC circuit after already passing three previous Senate confirmation hearings.
In her opening statement, Jackson reflected on the hard work ethic her parents instilled in her.
“To express both pride in their heritage and hope in their future, they gave me an African name. Ketanji Onyika, which they were told means ‘lovely one’.”
“I know that my role as a judge is a limited one, that the Constitution empowers me only to decide cases and controversies that are properly presented. And I know that my judicial role is further constrained by careful adherence to precedent,” Jackson added.
“And I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath.”
Republicans preview attacks against Ketanji Brown Jackson
While the hearing went on as planned, without any protests or unruly senators, Republicans made sure to preview the questions they’d be asking Ketanji Brown Jackson throughout the week.
For the most part, Republican senators expressed concerns about “activist judges” who vote with their own personal philosophies. Critical race theory, transgender athletes, and health mandates were also brought up by Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (Republican), who made it clear she opposed the nomination.
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas bluntly said he didn’t want a nominee who would try to make “new so-called rights.”
Democrats defend Judge Jackson
Meanwhile, Democrats clapped back. Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono shared quotes calling Jackson one of the most qualified nominees in U.S. history. She lambasted Republicans who called Jackson an “affirmative action pick” and highlighted the fact that the vast majority of Supreme Court justices have historically been White men.
Never breaking a sweat, Ketanji Brown Jackson remained poised through it all. She spoke intentionally with the passion of someone who’s worked their entire lives to reach this historic moment.
“It is extremely humbling to be considered for Justice Breyer’s seat, and I know that I could never fill his shoes. But if confirmed, I would hope to carry on his spirit.”
On Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET, the Senate Judiciary Committee will reconvene for the confirmation hearing. Each of the 22 senators will have 30 minutes to ask Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson questions.
Follow The Black Wall Street Times for updates.