Sammi Bray ’25
Among a lot of darkness in the news, Biden’s Supreme Court nomination is one glimmer of hope.
During the 2020 campaign, President Biden promised to elect the first Black, female justice if the opportunity arose. Following through on this promise, the President has nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the nation’s highest court.
“It’s long overdue in my view,” the President said. Similar to the mission of former President Jimmy Carter, Biden’s nomination of Jackson aims to make the Court more reflective of America.
Judge Jackson would replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who she clerked for in 1999. She would be the first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court, bringing a fresh perspective to the Court. Her confirmation would balance the Court’s gender divide, with four women and five men. To me, this is a giant leap in women’s equality.
Her political lean is left, though it is not certain yet just how far. Her stance would shift the Court’s overall lean to the left, hopefully balancing out the rather conservative nominations of former President Trump. This could be essential to the preservation of women’s rights, an issue that has been a great topic of concern lately.
Jackson received both her undergraduate and Juris Doctor from Harvard University. Likely, her Ivy League education will be weaponized during the confirmation process, framing her as an elitist. Several confirmed justices have attended the same schools–they just happen to look a little different.
Jackson’s background reminds me much of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Both were pioneers in the legal industry for all kinds of women. Jackson’s presence on the Court would be life-changing for many young, aspiring people.
She is undoubtedly a fantastic fit for the position: the daughter of two teachers, her father eventually joining the legal profession. Since preschool, Jackson has been surrounded by law with several of her other family members serving in the justice system.
Her family has also experienced the other side of the legal system. In her speech on Friday, February 25th, Jackson addressed the fact that her uncle served a drug charge. Again, this information will likely be used to detract from her character and her qualifications during the confirmation process.
Jackson’s honest address of the topic at hand is a reflection of her integrity. It is also a fantastic strategy for refocusing the narrative in the media. Her diverse background is essential to her understanding and application of the law.
Judge Jackson has also been confirmed for several other honorable positions in the nation’s courts. President Obama nominated Judge Jackson to serve as the Vice Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2009, and she was confirmed with bipartisan support in 2010. He also nominated her to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia where again she received bipartisan support. Most recently, President Biden nominated Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit where she has served for the last year.