Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is set to make history if confirmed to the Supreme Court — and she’s more than earned it.
A former public defender and current judge on a powerful appeals court circuit, Jackson’s impressive career launched her to the top of Biden’s picks to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.
If confirmed, Judge Jackson will be the first Black woman ever to sit on the Supreme Court, and she goes into the confirmation process with an outstanding curriculum vitae packed with elite credentials. In fact, Jackson has more judicial experience than the four sitting justices had combined, when confirmed.
Her resume and legal credentials speak for themselves, but as she is preparing for the confirmation process, let’s look at why she is one of the most qualified judges elected to the high court.
Judge Jackson’s Background
According to Vox, “Jackson graduated from Harvard twice, once with honors and once with high honors, and clerked for Breyer — a particularly coveted credential typically reserved for young lawyers with absolutely stratospheric academic and professional records.”
At just 51, Jackson would be the second youngest justice, behind Justice Amy Coney Barrett, if confirmed to the Supreme Court. And while Jackson has been a judge for almost a decade, her record is “Heavy on complex, technocratic cases and light on the sort of contentious issues that typically drive confirmation fights,” says Vox.
Jackson is a noted authority on federal sentencing policy, having served as vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, where she was pivotal in reducing sentences for drug offenders. She would also be the only justice with extensive experience representing low-income criminal defendants. Jackson has been a federal judge since 2013, serving first as a trial judge in D.C.
“In 2021, Biden elevated her to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is widely viewed as the second most powerful court in the country because of its steady diet of cases challenging federal policymaking and other major actions by federal agencies.”
Jackson also became an important criminal justice policymaker before her advancement to the bench in 2013. In 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Jackson to serve as vice chair of the Sentencing Commission, and she stayed in that role until 2014.
“While Jackson was on the commission, it retroactively reduced sentences for many crack cocaine offenses in 2011, permitting about 12,000 incarcerated individuals to seek reduced sentences and making an estimated 1,800 inmates eligible for immediate release. It also cut sentences for most federal drug offenders during her last year as a commissioner,” says Vox.
Last week, President Biden delivered remarks on his nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“And it’s my honor to introduce to the country, a daughter of former public school teachers, a proven consensus builder, an accomplished lawyer, a distinguished jurist — one of the nation’s most — on one of the nation’s most prestigious courts. My nominee for the United States Supreme Court is Judge Ketanji Jackson,” Biden said.
“I promised the process would be rigorous, that I would select a nominee worthy of Justice Breyer’s legacy of excellence and decency — someone extremely qualified, with a brilliant legal mind, with the utmost character and integrity, which are equally as important.”
“For too long our government and our courts haven’t looked like America,” Biden said while introducing Jackson. “I believe it’s time we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation, with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications.”
At her nomination, Jackson said that being a mother is as important to her as her devotion to the law.
“To my daughters, Talia and Leila, you are the light of my life,” Jackson said Friday afternoon. “Please know, whatever title I may hold, or whatever job I may have, I will still be your mom. That will never change.“
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson would be an asset to the Supreme Court! Tell us what you think in the comments.
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