Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed as US Supreme Court Justice

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is President Bidens nomination for the Supreme Court vacancy opened by Justice Stephen Breyers retirement.

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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is President Biden’s nomination for the Supreme Court vacancy opened by Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement.

Zeba Hussaini, Editor-in-Chief

With Justice Stephen Breyer retiring after serving on the Supreme Court for more than 27 years, President Joe Biden has been on a diligent search for his replacement. On February 25, 2022, President Biden officially nominated the first Black woman, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, to become the 116th Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson resides in Washington D.C with her husband and two children. She is an attorney and federal judge who was nominated by President Barack Obama as district court judge in 2012 and later confirmed with bipartisan support in 2013. Judge Jackson was also confirmed on the US Court of Appeals in 2021.

In an interview with the Green Hope Falcon, Ms. Melanie Diorio, English II and AP English Literature and Composition teacher at Green Hope, touched on the significance of the nomination.

“I thought it was really, really exciting to have this opportunity to have her on the Supreme Court. I believe she would be the first African-American female in this position, which is really exciting and something that this country really needs; someone of her expertise and perspective,” said Ms. Diorio.

The litmus test conducted by the Senate Judiciary is used to determine how the potential nominees handle certain policy matters that could supposedly appear in a future court case. Due to the major political division in the United States, this practice has continued to become both more biased and extensive.

Sophomore Anika Rajesh, President of GH Women in Politics, provided her perspective on the hearings.

“The issue with this is that the Supreme Court was created to be an unbiased, impartial body that made decisions based on their interpretations of the Constitution. With policy litmus tests, even the Supreme Court is becoming a political playing field,” said Rajesh.

Mr. Colin Richardson, AP US History and Sociology teacher at Green Hope, recalled his reaction after learning about the nomination. “I remembered that the shortlist President Biden put forward was exclusively women of color and I think that is another underrepresented voice in our Supreme Court history, so I was really excited to have a Supreme Court that more accurately represents the population of America,” said Mr. Richardson.

“Judge Jackson’s confirmation will positively impact the United States because it will show that race, gender, and other demographic factors are not signs of an individuals’ merit. Such stereotypes are one of the main reasons it has taken as long as it has to bridge gaps in American politics. By breaking the glass ceiling, I hope that Judge Jackson’s confirmation will be a step in the right direction for equality in the United States government.”

— Anika Rajesh, ‘24

Similarly, some Green Hope students expressed their excitement with the nomination and its impact on the judicial system as a whole.

Senior Caroline DeMaayer, President of Green Hope Teen Democrats stated, “The first black woman [to serve on the Supreme Court] is very monumental. I don’t know much about her specifically but she’s very well educated and went to an Ivy League. It’s very exciting and I think this is long overdue.”

Judge Jackson engaged in nomination trials on March 21st until March 23rd. Senators Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Josh Hawley opened up the trials with a variety of questions to clarify the Judge’s outlook on U.S. law.

Junior Makayla Johnson, secretary of Green Hope’s Model UN Chapter, has been closely following the confirmation hearings. Johnson stated, “She had some very good answers to some questions but from the videos I’ve seen, it seemed that she dodged some very important questions and sometimes her answers seemed to be driven more by personal beliefs and party politics rather than science and the law.”

Similarly, Mr. Richardson added, “I think that the process has become more and more contentious because Americans recognize that the Supreme Court is making hugely important policy decisions. It’s just fundamentally true that these people have arguably as much or more power over the course of their lifetime as anyone else in the country. So it’s unsurprising that that is an extremely contentious position. In the past, people have been approved unanimously after a day of debates, and it’s really only in modern times that it’s been this contentious.”

Regarding the specifics of Judge Jackson’s hearings, both club officers reflected upon Judge Jackson’s responses to the questions.

“Regardless of the questions thrown at her, I think she handled them with grace. She made sure to emphasize that each case must be dealt with individually and in an impartial manner, which I think highlights one of the fundamental aspects the Founders hoped to achieve through the Supreme Court,” said Rajesh.

“I think it’s crazy that it’s taken this long for a black woman to be nominated to sit on the bench! While I may not agree with all of her legal and political stances, I think that it is awesome that a black woman is finally going to be able to be on the Supreme Court and I think it shows the progress that is being made in our country,” added Johnson.

On the second day of the Supreme Court Nomination trial, Senator Patrick Leahy touched on claims of Judge Jackson being more lenient on crime as a criminal defense lawyer.

Acknowledging that criminal defense lawyers do not condone the actions of their clients, she stated that it is vital as a lawyer to look at both sides of the case with an open mind.

“I know in order for us to have a functioning society, we have to have people being held accountable for committing crimes. But we have to do so fairly under our Constitution,” emphasized Judge Jackson.

The Senate confirmed Judge Jackson’s nomination on April 7th, 2022.