President Joe Biden with Ketanji Brown Jackson on the day of her nomination, February 25, 2022.

I watched anxiously as President Joe Biden approached the podium flanked by two Black women. President Biden was about to make history — yet again. With Vice President Kamala Harris by his side, the first woman of color to serve in the role, the announcement that was weeks in the making was finally spoken into existence. Within minutes of their entrance into the grand hall, a commitment that was over 200 years in the making was official. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman nominee for a seat on the United States Supreme Court. 

All of the potential nominees on President Biden’s short list had the educational and professional experience an associate justice of the Supreme Court should have. Each one had an inspiring life story and impressive credentials. The scrutiny given to the women being considered focused the country’s attention on the value of having a Black woman on the Supreme Court.

The president had pledged to name a Black woman to the Court. But I could not be certain that this barrier would be overcome — until it was. And after the press conference ended, I sat up straighter and felt grateful to have witnessed another glass ceiling that was shattered in my lifetime. 

Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones credits Black Americans for making “our democracy’s founding ideals” true. Black women’s contributions to that progress have often been overlooked. Jackson’s nomination is a product of our work and her story symbolizes our success in achieving it. But she is more than a symbol of Black women’s contributions to America’s democracy.  

Judge Jackson’s nomination has opened new ground for women’s representation at the highest level of a judicial system.


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