Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court Nominee


Matthew Wan

Nominated by President Bill Clinton on August 3, 1993, after 27 years of service, President Joe Biden announced (on January 27, 2022) that associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Stephen Breyer will retire at the start of the court’s summer recess in late June or early July.

On February 28, 2022, President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson (non-partisan) to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer upon his retirement. On March 21, the Senate Judiciary Committee一responsible for considering the denial or confirmation of presidential nominations to the federal justice system一 began hearings on her nomination. As of March 24, after four consecutive hearings, the committee will now decide on whether or not to bring Jackson’s nomination before the entire United States Senate. If she is nominated, Ketanji will be the first black woman to ever serve as a Justice in the United States Supreme Court.

During these hearings, Jackson was subject to brutal and harsh attacks on her character and judgment by several Republican Senators. For example, senator Tom Cotton implied that she enjoyed representing terrorists against America (in reference to her defense of four Guantanamo Bay detainees in court). Furthermore, Senator Marsha Blackburn postulated that Judge Jackson planned on letting violent criminals and sexual predators off the hook and integrating critical race theory into grade schools. On the other hand, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York was quoted saying “With her exceptional qualifications and a record of evenhandedness, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be a justice who will uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of all Americans, including the voiceless and the vulnerable. She’s a true public servant and a model jurist.”

Born in Washington, D.C, and growing up in Miami, Florida, Ketanji Jackson had derived her love of law at an early age when she had witnessed her father study law school homework. Upon graduating from Miami Palmetto High School as student body president, Jackson attended Harvard University for her bachelor’s degree and later Harvard Law School to earn her J.D. (Juris Doctor) law degree. 

Ketanji Jackson comes from a family of law enforcement and service members. Her two uncles were career police officers in Miami: one a Miami-Dade Country sex crimes detective, the other Chief of Police at the City of Miami Police department. In addition, her brother, Ketajh, served in the United States Army and was deployed to both Iraq (two tours of duty in Iraq) and Egypt. After leaving the military, he served as an undercover narcotics officer in Baltimore’s drug-sting unit. Ketanji also currently lives with her husband and two daughters in Washington, D.C.

Jackson has a plethora of extensive experience in the American justice system. Upon earning her law degree, she served as a Supreme Court clerk under Justice Breyer and as a federal public defender, representing defendants who could not afford lawyers. In 2009, President Obama nominated Ketanji to serve as the Vice-Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, where she would ensure that federal sentencing was equal, just, and appropriate (confirmed in 2010). Finally, on April 19, 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a position she still fills today. 

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