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Biden to Nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court

ketanji brown jackson supreme court
Biden has nominated judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the US Supreme Court. Credit: H2rty/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

US President Joe Biden is set to announce the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Friday, according to a report in The New York Times.

Jackson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and a graduate of Harvard Law School, would be the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court in the country’s history if confirmed.

She is known for her pro-labor rulings, along with many that went against the Trump administration.

At 51, she would also be the second-youngest justice currently serving on the Court, after Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who is 50.

Additionally, she would be the only Justice with significant experience as a defense attorney since Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black justice on the Supreme Court, served on the court from 1967 to 1991. Before becoming a judge, Jackson served as a public defender.

Jackson also clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced his pending retirement from the Supreme Court in late January.

Ketanji Brown Jackson nominated to Supreme Court

During his tenure, Breyer was known for his moderate liberal views as he repeatedly deferred to experts on a range of issues and balanced competing interests. His stated judicial goals were to reinforce the democratic process and employ workable legal principles for the country.

Breyer was a key figure in the liberal wing of the court, which currently consists of Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Breyer himself, who will retire at the end of the term.

Currently, conservative justices have a super majority of six to three on the Court, and Jackson would not change the current dynamic of the court if confirmed.

The President called Jackson to offer her the nomination on Thursday evening.

Biden made a point of announcing during his Presidential campaign that he would appoint a black woman to an empty Supreme Court seat, promising to do so as part of a debate in February 2020.

“I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court to make sure we in fact get everyone represented,” Biden said at the time.

Jackson was nominated to the District Court less than one year ago, and was confirmed after a 53 to 44 vote in the Senate. Just three Republican senators voted to confirm Jackson.

At the time she was nominated to serve as a federal trial judge, Republican politician and former house speaker Paul Ryan endorsed her capabilities.

Ryan and Jackson are related by marriage — Jackson’s husband’s twin brother is married to Ryan’s wife’s sister.

“Our politics may differ, but my praise for Ketanji’s intellect, for her character, for her integrity, is unequivocal. She is an amazing person,” Ryan said.

Before her confirmation to the District Court, she served as a federal trial judge in the District of Colombia for eight years. Previously, she worked for the United States Sentencing Commission.

Jackson was a star student at Harvard, both as an undergraduate and later as a law student there. At Harvard Law School, she served as an editor for the prestigious Harvard Law Review. She graduate cum laude in 1996.

Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., but was raised in Miami. Her mother was a school administrator and her father a lawyer for the Miami-Dade school board.

Her husband is a surgeon, and the couple met while he was studying medicine at Harvard. They have two daughters.

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