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What to know about Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson He was sworn in as Supreme Court Justice Number 116 after Justice Stephen Breyer retired at the end of the 2021 term, on June 30, 2022.

Here’s what you need to know about the 51-year-old Federal Appeals Court judge who became the first black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court.

Senate confirmation

“We made it!”: Justice Kitangi Brown Jackson talks about making history in the Supreme Court


she was Confirmed in a bipartisan vote by the Senate, 53-47, with Republican senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Mitt Romney joining the Democrats.

During his appointment hearings, some senators from the Republican Party Tried to portray her as a soft, activist judge Who will start off the bench?

Their criticism targeted Jackson’s sentencing record in child pornography cases as a federal court judge.

Fulfilling his campaign pledge to name a black woman for the Supreme Court, President Biden enjoyed the opportunity to choose a judge who reflected the nation’s diversity, noting her assertion that she would be an example for others to follow: “Look, it’s a powerful thing when people see themselves in others.”

It’s a sentiment that Jackson shares. “I am a slave’s dream and hope,” Jackson said at the White House after confirming it. She said of her new role on the Court, “I firmly believe this is a moment in which all Americans can be very proud. We have come a long way toward perfecting our union. In my family, it only took a generation to go from impeachment to the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Historic nomination

Jackson, as the first black woman to become a Supreme Court justice, diversified a court that had been composed entirely of white men for nearly two centuries. Jackson took her place on the podium 125 years after the Supreme Court ruled segregation as constitutional in Plessy v. Ferguson.

Judge Kitangi Brown Jackson

Washington Post

She is the second black female judge on the current court, along with Clarence Thomas, and the third in history. She is the fourth woman on the current court – the highest number ever – and only the sixth female judge in history.

Harvard Law School graduate

Jackson, born in Washington, D.C., grew up in Florida. White House biography page She notes that her parents attended separate elementary schools in the South and eventually became public school teachers and principals in the Miami area.

It seems that becoming a judge has been her dream for a long time. The 1998 Miami Palmetto Senior High School Yearbook describes her as a member of several honor societies and quotes her as saying, “I want to become law and eventually have a court date.”

Jackson attended Harvard University and Harvard Law School. According to the White House, when she told her high school guidance counselor she wanted to go to Harvard, the counselor warned her not to set her sights “too loud.” Jackson graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and summa cum laude from Harvard Law School.

Former Clerk of the Supreme Court and Advocate General

She worked with Breyer on the Supreme Court during the period beginning in October 1999. After serving stints in elite law firms, she continued to work as an assistant special counsel for the US Judgment Committee.

She also worked for two years as the Assistant Federal Defense Counsel before returning to the U.S. Sentencing Committee in 2010 as Vice President. Jackson’s time as a public defender made her the first justice since Thurgood Marshall to have experience representing criminal defendants.

Pioneer filter before vacancy

Jackson was considered a leading candidate for the Supreme Court even before there was a vacancy, with her professional experience representing indigent criminal defendants and nearly nine years on federal court making her a favourite.

She was chosen by President Joe Biden in 2021 to replace Attorney General Merrick Garland on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, considered the second most powerful court in the country and on which three current Supreme Court justices have served. Jackson was confirmed to DC Circuit in June 2021, and has the support of all Senate Democrats and three Republicans: Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Prior to her appointment to DC Circuit, Jackson served for more than eight years as a judge on the federal district court in the District of Columbia. She was selected for the position by former President Barack Obama in 2012 and presented at her confirmation hearing by then-Congressman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin who will continue to serve as Speaker of the House before retiring in 2018.

Ryan and Jackson are related by marriage, and he has called her “the amazing person”. “Our policy may differ, but my praise of Kitangi’s intellect, character and integrity is unequivocal,” Ryan said of her.

Obama considered Jackson to the Supreme Court in 2016 to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

high-level issues

During her tenure in the district court, high-ranking Jackson ruled dispute Between the House Judiciary Committee and former White House counsel Don McGahn, it was found in 2019 that McGahn had to comply with a subpoena to testify.

“Presidents are not kings. This means that they have no subjects bound by loyalty or blood, who are entitled to control their own destiny,” she wrote. “Instead, in this land of liberty, it is indisputable that the staff of the White House are working for the benefit of the people of the United States, and swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

She was also a member of the three-judge panel in the D.C. circuit that rejected former President Donald Trump’s attempt to prevent the National Archives and Records Administration from turning over his White House records to a House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Jackson joined the opinion written by Judge Patricia Millett, who found that Trump “has provided no basis to this court to override President Biden’s judgment and the agreement and accommodations made between the political branches on these documents.”

The Supreme Court eventually gave the go-ahead for the National Archives to give the records to the January 6 committee, Rejection of the application From Trump to prevent their release.

Melissa Quinn, Nancy Cordes, Jacob Rosen, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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