The nation will hear opening remarks from Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Monday. Her words during her Senate confirmation hearing will be etched on the pages of history.
Women, and especially Black women and girls, across this country will gather to watch, listen and pray as Judge Jackson describes her journey to this moment as a nominee to become an associate justice on the Supreme Court. And this evening, I’ll likely talk to my daughter about the importance of this historic occasion, so that she won’t miss her chance to revel in the making of history.
Judge Jackson’s presence on the highest court in the land would symbolize something that the entire Emily’s List team, including myself, fight for every day – representation. And though representation always matters, that is but one reason why I firmly believe that Judge Jackson should be confirmed.
Foremost, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson should be confirmed because she is impeccably qualified to serve on this court. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told a reporter there was "no question" that Judge Jackson is qualified.
Take a look at her experience and you’ll see why.
Judge Jackson served as a clerk for Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she’ll be replacing once confirmed. She has experience on the federal bench, currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. During her career, Judge Jackson has served as a federal appellate judge and a federal district court judge. She was a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an attorney in private practice, and a federal public defender.
She comes from a law enforcement family and understands all sides of it. The depth and breadth of her legal career make her more qualified than some justices who are currently serving.
Judge Jackson also possesses the character and fortitude that is worthy of this appointment.
Judge Jackson also possesses the character and fortitude that is worthy of this appointment. Like too many of us in this country, as a student she was told by a guidance counselor not to set her sights too high when she expressed interest in attending Harvard.
Not only did she attend Harvard for her undergraduate studies, she also attended Harvard Law, serving as editor for the Harvard Law Review. If she had listened to that guidance counselor, we may not be talking about her today.
Her close friends from college and law school call her a great leader, but they also know her as someone who recognized the strength of everyone. Her friend Nina Simmons stated, "[Judge Jackson] made sure that you recognized the strength in yourself."
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wrote, "Janna and I are incredibly happy for Ketanji and her entire family. Our politics may differ, but my praise for Ketanji's intellect, for her character, and for her integrity, is unequivocal."
Some argue that the promise that President Biden made to put a Black woman on the Supreme Court was an attempt to pander. Just as others have done, President Biden made a promise to ensure that systemic barriers would continue to be broken. For an institution like the Supreme Court that in its 233-year history has had a total of 115 judges; only two of them Black men, and only five of them women, the door needed to be more than opened, it needed to be thrown open.
As a judge who has been confirmed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis three times – as recently as last year for her current seat – the confirmation for Judge Jackson should be a relatively easy process. But like many things in our country right now it may not be.
However, my hope is built on the fact that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has been tested and has done hard things. And I know that she will display the poise of an experienced, fair and brilliant legal mind, with the temperament of someone who has been doubted, but who is resolved to succeed.