Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Historic Supreme Court Confirmation


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jesus Ortiz, OwlFeed News Reporter

Ketanji Brown Jackson is an African-American woman who has been confirmed for a spot on the Supreme Court. 

Jackson was confirmed by a 53-47 vote of the Senate on April 7, making her the first African-American woman on the Supreme Court and the first former public defender to sit on the Supreme Court. The time is here when people get to see someone that is just like them achieving higher things that one could only dream of.

Ketanji Brown Jackson was born on September 14, 1970, in Washington D.C. but grew up in Miami, Florida. Ketanji’s parents, Johnny Brown and Ellery Brown, wanted to honor her ancestry so they asked relatives serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa for names for their daughter. They came up with Ketanji Onyika, which means “lovely one.”

Her parents attended a segregated school and historically black colleges. Both Johnny and Ellery started their careers in public schools as teachers. Then moved up the ranks as administrators in the Miami-Dade Public School System.

When Ketanji was in pre-school, her father attended The University of Miami for law school. According to the Whitehouse, “In a 2017 lecture, Judge Jackson traced her love of the law back to sitting next to her father in their apartment as he tackled his law school homework—reading cases and preparing for Socratic questioning—while she undertook her preschool homework—coloring books.”

Growing up, Kentanji was an overachiever. She was amazing at speech and debate and was elected “mayor” of Palmetto Junior High, and was a student body president for Miami Palmetto Senior High School. 

Even though she was a bright student, she would still have setbacks. The Whitehouse said, “When Judge Jackson told her high school guidance counselor she wanted to attend Harvard, the guidance counselor warned that Judge Jackson should not set her ‘sights so high.’”

However, that did not stop her. She went on to be accepted to Harvard University and then went back to Harvard law school, graduating cum laude. Prior to law school, she spent a year working for Times Magazine and serving as an intern for the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem.

Ketanji’s career took off in Washington D.C. when she was nominated for district court judgeship by former President Barack Obama. Nick Niedzwiadek, a news reporter from states “President Barack Obama nominated Jackson for a district court judgeship in D.C. near the end of his first term as president, and she was confirmed in early 2013.” 

During her time working for the district court, she has done many things. Patricia Mazzei and Charlie Savage, two news reporters from the NYTimes, said, “Her earlier rulings as a district judge in Washington, however, comported with those of a liberal-leaning judge, blocking the Trump administration’s attempts to fast-track deportations, cut short grants for teen pregnancy prevention.”

On February 25, President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to be on the Supreme Court. President Biden tweeted, “I’m proud to announce that I am nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court. Currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, she is one of our nation’s brightest legal minds and will be an exceptional Justice.” 

On March 24, Judge Jackson was at Court Confirmation Hearings. It takes four days for these hearings to end. While in her court hearings she was questioned about things she supports, and things she has defended throughout the years. She was questioned by both sides of the political parties.

The hate keeps coming, as of now the Republican side of the Senate Judicial Committee is not in favor of Ketanji Brown Jackson joining the highest court in the land. One of NPR news reporters, Elena Moore, said, “In recent weeks, Republicans have come out even stronger against Jackson’s past criminal casework record, attempting to paint her as lenient on criminal offenses.”

Even though she is being grilled in her hearings by the opposite side, many Democratic senators are stepping in and showing that she is more than qualified to be in the Supreme Court and “showing what her nomination means to them.” 

ABC news covered Senator Cory Booker giving his speech to Ketanji Brown Jackson. This is what he had to say: 

“You did not get here because of some left-wing agenda. You didn’t get here because of some dark money groups. You got here how every black woman in America who’s got anywhere has done, by being like Ginger Rogers.” Senator Booker goes on by quoting Ginger Roger, “I did everything Fred Astaire did but backward in heels.”

The meaning behind this nomination is more than her qualifications. It shows that one can achieve anything, and everything even if the odds are against them.

Judge Jackson is expected to be officially confirmed by the Senate in mid-April.