Ketanji Brown has been confirmed as Ketanji Jackson, the first black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court’s 233-year-old history.
After fierce questioning by critics, the judge was awarded the life-time position following a vote of 53 to 47 in the US Senate.
Judge Jackson, 51, is also the first ex-public defender to be seated on the Supreme Court and the third black judge.
Only two black justices have served the US Supreme Court – both men, Thurgood Marshall or Clarence Thomas.
In February, the US President Joe Biden nominated an African-American judge to replace Justice Stephen Breyer.
The Supreme Court will rule in several high-profile cases before she is allowed to join the bench. One case could overturn the 1973 landmark decision which legalized abortion nationwide, and another could expand gun rights.
Who is Ketanji Jackson Jackson?
Judge Jackson, 51, was raised in Miami and was born in Washington.
In 1996, she graduated from Harvard Law School. She has distinguished legal experience and is a proud Ivy League graduate.
Jackson was a Supreme Court clerk for Justice Justice Breyer in the early stages of her career. She retires at end of term.
She has handled many high-profile cases over the years.
She was part of a panel of three judges that ruled against Donald Trump’s bid. This was to stop White House records from being given to a committee to investigate the Capitol Riots.
She has also represented Guantanamo Bay detainees, who could not afford legal representation.
Why is her appointment important?
The US Supreme Court seat gives justices the ability to rule on contentious laws.
The landmark confirmation of Judge Jackson is cause for celebration for black women’s representation at the highest federal court in the United States.
“I know what it takes for you to sit there,” Cory Booker, a New Jersey senator, told Jackson during her confirmation hearing. This brought Jackson to tears.
Guy-Uriel Charles is a Harvard Law School professor who is an expert on race and law and explained how Jackson could impact the court.
He stated that he believed that she would bring credibility to issues of race and gender. She might be a counterweight for Justice Thomas on issues of race.
“I think that young black girls will feel more confident in their ability to access all avenues, particularly those in law.”
Winning over conservatives
Judge Jackson will replace another liberal justice. This means that her confirmation won’t affect the conservative majority on the court.
During her confirmation hearings Republican critics took aim At her legal record and were criticized for their questioning.
Ted Cruz, a Texas senator, questioned Judge Jackson on critical race theory and asked her if babies could be considered racist.
Despite her liberal tendencies, she received support from three Republican senators as well as other conservatives far from Capitol Hill.
Sky News’ former US Solicitor General Charles Fried said he supported her because she was “absolutely the ideal nominee”.
He said, “She’s had a lot of life experience where she had to fight her own way up and succeed at every stage.”
Fried has been a Harvard Law School professor since 1961. He added that Fried’s experience as a public defense attorney “gives the court a very important perspective”.
A vital voice at the bench when politically charged issues approach to the Supreme Court
People often refer to Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s diversity when they talk about it.
Her diversity extends to other areas, however.
She is also the first ex-public defender to be elected to the court, and the only current justice who went to public school.
While justices are supposed not to be impartial, their past experiences undoubtedly and correctly inform their thinking. This can have an impact on decision-making.
Her upbringing as a minority, and her brother’s experience as a police officer will have an impact on her interpretation of cases. She will also ask questions about her fellow justices.
This term’s court docket includes a number of highly politicized and headline-grabbing issues about guns control, religion, and abortion rights.
The Supreme Court’s decision on abortion will impact millions of women across the globe, particularly those of color. It specifically addresses a challenge brought by Mississippi to a 1973 law that legalized abortion in the country.
Justice Jackson will be a prominent voice on the bench in this regard.
In February, President Biden nominated Jackson to the court. This fulfilled his presidential campaign promise that he would nominate a black woman.
Judge Jackson, 51 years old, will be entering the courtroom to make her mark.