Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court is a historical moment. On April 7th, a 53 to 47 vote established Jackson as the first Black woman to climb the mountain and reach the summit of American law. I am proud of this absolute triumph and in awe of the message her success sends to Black girls and boys who dare to dream big.
Though her confirmation is wonderful, earned, and inspirational, the path Judge Jackson had to walk was quite challenging.
Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson?
Ketanji Brown Jackson (KBJ) was a recent judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit – nominated by Biden and appointed in 2021 – who achieved a position on the U.S. Supreme Court on April 7th.
Though she will not tilt the conservative supermajority, Judge Jackson’s confirmation diversifies the court (as the third person of color) and narrows the gender gap (as the fourth woman).
With a professional legal history comparable to the other Justices, and as the only Justice with experience as a public defender, Jackson is more than qualified for her duties to come. Her extensive legal career spans nearly 30 years, starting in 1994 with her clerkship for Patti B. Saris, the Massachusetts District Court Judge.
What Happened During Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Confirmation Hearing?
Credentials, competence, and capabilities within the legal field are the considered prerequisites when selecting Justices. Perhaps it was the fact that, based on the standard, Judge Jackson was clearly an ideal candidate that drove Republican Senators down the unnecessarily vile line of questioning interested in crime.
Though any part of a nominee’s record is available for evaluation in U.S. Supreme Court hearings, the attack blatantly avoided Jackson’s professional achievements and proven credibility as an upholder of justice and law. In reality, the attack avoided fact at large and, instead, favored mischaracterization and distortion of her record.
Some Notable, Baseless Attacks:
All six Republican Senators from Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi voted against Judge Jackson’s confirmation. Among them are some highlights.
Sen. Tom Cotton attacked Judge Jackson for defending terrorists as a public defender. Firstly, the Supreme Court decided Guantanamo Bay detainees qualified for judicial review. That was not Jackson’s personal decision. Furthermore, considering that all defendants are entitled to legal representation, the Senator’s line of questioning and accusations directly attacked due process (which Jackson upheld without bias in her position).
Sen. Marsha Blackburn had a few notable moments, including blatantly using Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearing as a setting to air out party grievances instead of respectfully staying on topic and task. Asking Judge Jackson to define “woman” had nothing to do with her qualifications as a judge and more to do with the current state of gender politics.
Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith, John Boozman, Bill Hagerty, and Roger Wicker shared their concerns across statements and Twitter posts that Jackson will feed into radical Democratic policies. This fear forgoes the fact that judges are not policymakers, something Jackson had to remind them of in her response.
Judge Jackson’s Reaction
Judge Jackson remained graceful and tactful. Above all else (and as evidence will show) in her decisions, she follows the law. Jackson acknowledges that she’s not a politician: she’s a judge. It’s not her job to push to the right or left, but to uphold the Constitution. Her record reflects that and further proves her qualification for this position.
If upholding the law means less-harsh sentencing, fair treatment of the accused, and better representation, what does that say about the alternative these Republican Senators were pushing for?
One for the Dreamers
Despite the arduous four-day hearing, Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed with a full Democratic vote and the vote of three Republicans (Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah).
Read more: https://thyblackman.com/2022/04/16/standing-on-shoulders-why-ketanji-brown-jackson-inspires-the-african-american-community/