Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, has been nominated by Joe Biden to be the new Supreme Court Justice, replacing Associate Justice Stephan Bryer. The latter plans on retiring at the end of the 21-22 session. Currently (as of the week of March 19, 2022), she is going through Congressional hearings.
Jackson was born in the nation’s capital, but grew up in Miami, Florida. She was exposed to the law at a very young age when her father went back to law school. Throughout her childhood and college, she participated in activities that dealt with the law — speech, debate, student council president, etc. In her high school yearbook, Jackson even said that she wants “to go into law and eventually have a judicial appointment.”
She went to Harvard College and Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude and cum laude. After graduating from law school, she was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Breyer, the Justice she is set to replace. Since then, she has served in many positions, including private practices, US District Court for the District of Columbia, US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and many other places.
President Biden chose Jackson because of her exceptional credentials, character, and dedication to honoring the law. This pick was historic because she would be the first African American woman and public defender to be a US Supreme Court Justice. This has given her a lot of support because many people — all over the country — from government officials to regular citizens, want her in that position.
Jackson’s confirmation hearings are occurring this week and are available for the public to watch. These hearings occur every time there is a new Supreme Court nominee. They are done so that members of Congress learn more about the nominee and decide whether or not they choose to appoint the judge to the position. The president only has the ability to nominate possible candidates for the Court. The Senate then holds these hearings to determine whether or not the nominee should be nominated. This process is stated in the United States Constitution.
What does it mean if she is confirmed? We will have our first female African American Supreme Court Justice! She will provide more diversity to the Supreme Court, which many believe will strengthen the court’s integrity. In addition to this, many people are becoming increasingly wary of the Supreme Court and its decisions because of how seemingly politicized it is becoming. Jackson has stated that she is interested in being a fair-minded justice who views the Constitution as something that impacts our daily lives; in addition to this, she is interested in helping ALL Americans, not just the powerful or wealthy, as the public seems to believe the court has been doing in recent years.
Ketanji Brown Jackson brings a new perspective to the court as her public education background, criminal defense, and the U.S. Sentencing Commission experience give her the context for understanding America.