Ian Hutchinson

Today, two minority women are making history on the Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson are in the ranks of the highest court in the United States, becoming the first two minority women to do so. With their appointments, the Supreme Court has seen a shift in power and representation, as both Sotomayor and Jackson have been involved in major decisions that will shape the future of our country. As SCOTUS has shifted recently towards a more conservative stance, these justices will play a role in preserving rights as controversial cases are decided by the court. 

Who are Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson?

Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson are two minority women who have made history as members of the United States Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor was born in the Bronx, New York, and grew up in a housing project. She went on to graduate from Princeton University and Yale Law School before working as a prosecutor and then a judge in New York City. She was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009, becoming the first Latina and third woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

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Ketanji Brown Jackson was born in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Maryland. She graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School before working as a clerk for several federal judges. She then worked as a public defender before becoming a private practice lawyer. In 2013, she was nominated by President Obama to serve on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and in 2021, she was nominated by President Joe Biden to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Both Sotomayor and Jackson were chosen for their positions on the Supreme Court based on their extensive legal experience and their commitment to upholding the law and protecting the rights of all Americans. As women of color, they bring a unique perspective and voice to the highest court in the land, and their presence on the bench is a testament to the progress and diversity of our nation’s judiciary system.

Sonia Sotomayor’s involvement in major Supreme Court decisions, such as Fisher v. University of Texas and Shelby County v. Holder

Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009, becoming the first Latina and third woman to hold this position. She has been actively involved in several landmark cases that have had significant impacts on American society.

One of the most prominent cases in which Sotomayor played a critical role was Fisher v. University of Texas. This case dealt with the issue of affirmative action in college admissions and was widely debated in the media. Sotomayor was part of the majority that upheld the constitutionality of the university’s race-conscious admissions policy, arguing that such policies can be a necessary tool for creating diversity on college campuses.

Another important case in which Sotomayor was involved was Shelby County v. Holder. This case dealt with a provision of the Voting Rights Act that required certain states and localities to obtain approval from the federal government before changing their voting laws. Sotomayor dissented from the majority decision, arguing that the law was still necessary to protect the voting rights of minority communities.

Overall, Sotomayor’s involvement in these cases has shown her commitment to issues of racial justice and equality. Her legal expertise and unique perspective as a Latina have allowed her to bring important insights to the Supreme Court and shape its decisions on these critical issues.

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s role in important cases 

Ketanji Brown Jackson, the most recently appointed judge to the Supreme Court, has not had as much time to make her mark on the court as Sotomayor has, but she has already played a critical role in important cases. For example, in 2020, she authored the decision that prevented the Trump administration from allowing employers to deny contraception coverage to their employees for religious or moral reasons. 

Jackson also recently served on a three-judge panel that affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by former Trump adviser Carter Page, who alleged that the FBI and Justice Department unlawfully surveilled him. This decision drew praise from legal experts, who noted that it demonstrated Jackson’s commitment to impartiality and the rule of law. 

Jackson’s role on the Supreme Court is likely to continue to expand in the coming years, as she has been seen as a potential replacement for Justice Breyer, who is rumored to be considering retirement. In any case, her appointment to the court is an important milestone, as it means that there are now two minority BIPOC American women on the highest court in the land.

Impact of having two minority women on the Supreme Court

The presence of Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson on the Supreme Court has been a significant milestone for the court and for the representation of minorities in the US. As two liberal, minority BIPOC American women, their presence challenges the long-standing dominance of white male justices on the Supreme Court.

The impact of having Sotomayor and Jackson on the Supreme Court is multi-fold. Firstly, they provide representation for marginalized groups in the court’s decision-making process. They bring perspectives and experiences that may not have been represented previously and ensure that voices from minority groups are heard.’

Secondly, their presence can inspire and encourage young people from minority groups to pursue careers in law and aspire to become judges or justices. Seeing individuals who look like them in positions of power and influence can be an empowering experience for young people, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds who may not have previously considered a career in law.

Finally, their presence can help shape the legal landscape and ensure that the rights of minority groups are upheld. As liberal justices, Sotomayor and Jackson are likely to interpret the law in ways that prioritize protecting the rights of minority groups. They have been involved in important cases such as Fisher v. University of Texas, which concerned affirmative action in university admissions, and Shelby County v. Holder, which dealt with the Voting Rights Act.

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