America would be lucky to have Ketanji Brown Jackson on the Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson at Loeb House

Wikimedia / Innisfree987

This week America gets their first extended look at Ketanji Brown Jackson as the Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings on her nomination.

Here’s why America would be lucky to have her on its highest court.

More than qualified

Supreme Court Justice 1

The 51-year-old Jackson formerly clerked for Justice Breyer — the man she would be replacing. Jackson has been a federal judge for the past nine years, currently on the prestigious United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — which, because of its location, decides cases concerning the U.S. government. Three current members of the court—Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh—served previously as judges on the D.C. Circuit.

The American Bar Association unanimously rated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson “Well Qualified” to serve on the United States Supreme Court—ABA’s highest possible rating.

She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, then attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

She’d be the first public defender on highest court since Thurgood Marshall

No one on the current court has experience as a public defender, representing the accused and the convicted. In fact, Katanji Brown Jackson would be the first public defender on the court since Thurgood Marshall back in 1967, who, incidentally received 85% Senate approval including most Republicans.

Judge Jackson is also the rare public defender who is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police:

“From our analysis of Judge Jackson’s record and some of her cases, we believe she has considered the facts and applied the law consistently and fairly on a range of issues. There is little doubt that she has the temperament, intellect, legal experience, and family background to have earned this appointment. We are reassured that, should she be confirmed, she would approach her future cases with an open mind and treat issues related to law enforcement fairly and justly. We wish her well as the confirmation process begins.”

It’s about time!

The exterior of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has existed for 233 years, with 115 sitting justices. Only five of those have been women and only three people of color. “We had 110 white men who were appointed to the U.S. Supreme court,” said retired judge LaDoris Cordell. “And nobody seemed to be bothered by that at all.”

A biographical database from the Federal Judicial Center shows that out of 3,843 federal judges, less than 2% have been Black women.

A representational democracy should reflect its people. It also opens up what future generations believe is possible.

She will bring fairness and balance to an exceedingly unfair and unbalanced nation

Restrictive voting bills and gerrymandered maps are issues the Supreme Court has power over. The court just reinstated a Republican map in Alabama that a lower court found violated the Voting Rights Act by limiting the power of Black voters. Rulings like that have many progressives asking the purpose of getting out the Black vote if the court just signs off on Republican attempts to dilute that vote. America needs to be represented both inside the court and outside. Judge Brown is a step in the right direction.

She lives in the real world

Judge Jackson is a daughter, mother, and wife. Her husband, Patrick, is chief of gastrointestinal surgery at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital and an associate professor of surgery at Georgetown University. He is related to former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who also was the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2012. Ryan has voiced support for Jackson’s nomination. Judge Jackson also has two daughters, one in college and the other in high school.

Already approved to bench just a year ago

A close up photo of a gavel

Unsplash / Bill Oxford

Judge Jackson appeared in front of the same group of lawmakers just one year ago when the committee reviewed her nomination for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ultimately, the Senate confirmed Jackson by a 53-44 vote. She even received yes votes from Republican Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Lindsey Graham. Of those three, only Graham holds a spot on the Judiciary Committee.

If justice truly is blind, Judge Jackson and her superlative credentials would sail through the proceedings and be confirmed unanimously.

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