Joe Biden’s historic Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first black woman on the bench
This is what it looks like to make history. By nominating DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court, President Joe Biden is breaking down an important barrier without lowering the standards one bit.
The historic nature of the choice became the headline that immediately caught the public’s attention.
Tombs of Fatima Goss, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement Friday that Jackson’s appointment “promises an end to the erasure of black women from our most sacred legal institutions.” Describing Jackson as “an eminently qualified public servant with distinguished experience as a federal judge,” Graves urged senators to “treat her with the respect and dignity she deserves.”
Putting a black woman on the Supreme Court allows Biden to fulfill a promise he made two years ago during his presidential campaign. It also allows America to fulfill an even greater promise – a commitment that a person’s race and gender should not limit their opportunities or scuttle their dreams. It’s a powerful symbol that will tell young black girls across the country that there’s nothing they can’t do and (almost) no place they can’t go.
This last barrier will be broken when a black woman is the one to choose the Supreme Court nominees because she is sitting in the Oval Office.
Even after narrowing the pool of potential candidates to just black women, Biden was blessed with an embarrassment of wealth among potential candidates. If the job hadn’t gone to Jackson, the other two likely choices – California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and United States District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs — were both very good prospects.
Kruger is a graduate of Yale Law School, who hails from the nation’s most populous blue state and had an important ally in California Vice President Kamala Harris.
And Childs, who presides in South Carolina, had the bipartisan support of two powerful state supporters of Palmetto, the House Democratic majority whip. James Clyburn and Republican senator. Lindsey Graham, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. They insisted that Childs – who went to the University of South Florida and the University of South Carolina Law School – would bring a real-world perspective to the job. Childs is also seen as being more at the ideological center than Kruger or Jackson, a fact that has drawn skepticism on the left but could also have helped her win a 50-50 Senate endorsement.
But Biden wasn’t the only lucky one. America was also lucky that Jackson finally got the green light. Now this country can break through a glass ceiling that has been thicker than most, while recognizing and rewarding excellence. Whichever way you slice it, the candidate resume has the goods.
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Jackson serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, the nation’s most prestigious appellate court. She is a former law clerk to Judge Stephen Breyer, whom she would replace. With unlimited career choices, she used her law degree to advance public service as an assistant federal public defender. It has been confirmed twice by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate. And, at just 51, Jackson will be on the court for quite a while.
Because of all that sauce, Jackson isn’t far behind. It is rather a safe bet and a safe choice. She appears to be easily confirmable, which is always the #1 qualification for any Supreme Court nominee.
Even so, after learning the nomination had gone to Jackson, Graham – who voted twice to confirm Jackson to the federal bench, first in DC District Court in 2013 and then again in Circuit Court in DC in 2021 –caught on Twitter to soothe his wounded regional pride.
“If the media reports are accurate and Justice Jackson has been chosen as the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Breyer, it means the radical left has won over President Biden yet again,” Graham tweeted. “The attacks from the left on Judge Childs of South Carolina apparently worked.”
He followed with another tweet aimed at elitism.
“I expect a respectful but interesting hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Harvard-Yale train to the Supreme Court continues to roll relentlessly.
Graham is correct that the highest court in the land should reflect a wider range of law schools. Currently, only one judge — Amy Coney Barrett, a graduate of Notre Dame Law School — has attended a law school other than Harvard or Yale. And because Notre Dame is a private school, the number of judges who went to law school at a public university is zero.
Take that from a guy with two degrees from Harvard, that’s nonsense.
However, this is also a special case. In a country where a black woman will always be more scrutinized than a white man, the first black woman to have the honor of serving on the Supreme Court will have to show up at the door of the Senate committee ready to kick ass and take names. .
CNN Legal Analyst Eliot Williamsa former Assistant Deputy Attorney General of the United States, posed the key question: “What does it take for a black woman to be taken seriously in America?”
Grabbing the pick Wednesday morning before Biden even made the official announcement, Williams said this“If I were to describe to you a supremely qualified candidate for the Supreme Court, who was a federal judge for two years and who went to Harvard twice, I would say, ‘Wow, that’s pretty impressive.’ Well, that’s John Roberts, the chief justice. Ketanji Brown Jackson has all of that, plus seven more years as a judge.
The way Williams sees it, the president needed to come up with a candidate who would represent the strongest possible defense against the coming storm of criticism from white male Republicans who think they — and the people they represent — are the real victims in America.
“This black candidate is going to face some headwinds about her qualifications,” Williams noted. “And if what it takes to get a black woman on the Supreme Court is (to choose) someone from the Ivy League bubble, then so be it.”
It’s perfect. Personally, I never feel comfortable with the idea that the first black woman on the Supreme Court should also be the only justice to have attended a public university. If the same goes for the gods of the story, I’d rather that accolade go to a white male.
We should have always known that this is where we would end up. The first black woman on the Supreme Court was always expected to be 10 feet tall and indestructible. Like every other black woman in every white-collar position you can think of — from Wall Street to Main Street — Biden’s nominee had to be twice as good as the average white man just to get half the credit.
Do not mistake yourself. There is no magic crucifix that wards off prejudice and racism. Jackson is always going to be challenged on her qualifications by far less qualified white men, whether they perch at Fox News (looking at you, Tucker), conservative talk radio, or the Senate Judiciary Committee. These people can’t get rid of their white male privilege. Just like we can’t fix stupid.
But with a candidate as unquestionably qualified as Ketanji Brown Jackson, these attacks will reverberate across the rest of America for what they really are: utter ridiculousness.