Ketanji Brown Jackson nominee for supreme court justice


Jacquelyn Martin

Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson listens during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, March 21, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

On February 25, President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to be a Supreme Court justice. If confirmed, she will be taking liberal-leaning Justice Stephen Bryer’s place on the Court. She will also become the first African American woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Her nomination already makes her the first African American woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court.

Jackson expressed interest in law at an early age. She attributes this to her dad. According to, “As her father studied legal texts, a preschool-age Jackson colored next to him.” All throughout her early life, Jackson was a leader. She was the mayor of her middle school and president of the student body at her high school. During this time, Jackson decided she wanted to go to Harvard. Although some people didn’t believe in her, she later got in and continued her education by attending Harvard law school as well.

Jackson has had many jobs in the legal field. According to her White House biography, “Judge Jackson served as Justice Breyer’s law clerk.” Following that, Jackson worked as a public defender. Public defenders are lawyers employed by the government to represent criminal defendants who are unable to afford to pay for counsel. She has also worked in other prestigious roles throughout her career. According to, one of these notable roles she held was vice-chair of the United States sentencing commission, and she was even a federal district judge for nine years. Recently, she was nominated to and became a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, which is often the last step before becoming a Supreme Court justice.

However, Jackson’s road to having a seat on the Supreme Court may not be smooth. She is getting a lot of pushback from Republicans. Republicans’ main arguments against her are about her time as a public defender, and her rulings on cases regarding rape and other forms of sexual violence. As a public defender, they claim that it was her job to get dangerous felons acquitted. In actuality, public defenders help people without means to protect their constitutional rights. However, public defenders don’t often get to pick their cases. She was assigned them and got no say in the matter. It’s not as if she believed these people were innocent or deserved a lesser sentence than what they got. It was her job, and she did what she was supposed to. As a former public defender, she’ll have insight no one on the Supreme Court has ever had before: what it’s like to be up against charges and not being able to afford a lawyer.

A Republican, Josh Hawley has also claimed that as a judge, she gave people convicted of sexual violence more lenient sentences. He said that her sentencing on child pornography cases was “almost always below the government’s recommendation.” However, checking this claim shows it isn’t true. She gave the people convicted of sexual violence sentences equal to or over the recommended amount for their crimes.

Based on pure numbers, it does appear that Jackson will be confirmed to the court after her hearing. The Senate is currently split 50/50 between Republicans and Democrats. In order to be confirmed, she needs 50% of the senate or 50 votes. If she receives 50 votes, the tiebreaker goes to Vice President Kamala Harris. However, the tiebreaker may not be necessary. The Democrats are all likely to vote in her favor, and it is predicted some GOP members will too, including three who voted to approve her to the Court of Appeals. This includes Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski.

If Jackson is confirmed to the Supreme Court, we will see representation for a group that has never seen representation on the highest court in the land. She will be the first African American woman, the third African American person, and the sixth woman on the Supreme Court. She will bring change to the court and have a unique perspective no other Supreme Court justice has ever had.