Confirming the first Black Woman to the Supreme Court is a long overdue “step forward” for this country

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson have finally come to an end. Despite the hope and admiration that many of us share in regard to the symbol that her confirmation would possess, the abrasive questioning posed by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were not only ugly, but they were downright egregious. 

Throughout the duration of these proceedings, Judge Jackson composed herself in a matter that was graceful, polite, and admirable. Dealing with questions such as, “on a scale of 1-10, how faithful would you say you are in terms of religion,” asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham, while having to keep her cool as she was coarsely interrupted during times when she was trying to answer, is just one example of the type of questioning that she had to face. Despite promises made by Republicans to treat Judge Jackson with respect and “conduct dignified proceedings,she was ultimately met with bitterness, she had to absorb the mocking and aggressive tone that some took with her during questioning, and manage the presumption in their characterization of her as an extremist on race.

As many of us, particularly Black women, watched these confirmation hearings with our hearts overwhelmed with admiration and pride, we also had to witness the crude and repugnant display by Republicans that questioned Judge Jackson on critical race theory and gender identity, while also claiming that she was lenient toward people charged with possessing child abuse imagery. 

Judge Jackson’s composure during the hearings have not only inspired me, but has inspired many of those who might admit that they might not have been able to conduct themselves with such restraint, while being under such intense pressure and scrutiny. Not only was she representing Black women who can attest to the longstanding and burdensome stereotype of coming off as an “Angry Black Woman,” if we lose our composure or get too emotional, but she serves as an impetus of real change. 

Here are five things to know about Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson:

1. Upon confirmation, Judge Jackson would replace former Justice Stephen Breyer, the justice for whom she clerked from 1999 to 2000. Judge Jackson’s clerkship experience provided her with an insider’s view of the operations of the court, as well as deep knowledge of Justice Breyer’s consensus-building approach to the role of justice.

2. The Senate has confirmed Judge Jackson three times. She was confirmed to the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2009. She received bipartisan support for her appointment to the District of Columbia Circuit Court in 2013 and unanimous support for her appointment to the District of Columbia District Court in 2021.

3. Judge Jackson currently sits on the District of Columbia Circuit Court, which is widely considered the second-most-important court in the United States. Multiple Supreme Court justices, including former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Chief Justice John Roberts, served on the circuit court prior to their appointments to the Supreme Court.

4. Upon confirmation, Judge Jackson would not only have more experience than four of the current justices combined, but she would also be the first and only justice with experience as a public defender. Judge Jackson served as an assistant public defender from February 2005 to June 2007, before returning to work in corporate law. As a 2020 report from the Center for American Progress outlined, judges with more diverse professional experience improve jurisprudence so that it better acknowledges people’s unique lived experiences. Judge Jackson’s experience as a public defender deepens her understanding of the U.S. justice system and how it touches people’s lives.

5. Judge Jackson has received numerous awards throughout her career. In 2021, Columbia University’s Law School awarded her its Constance Baker Motley Award for empowering women of color, “advancing the rights of people,” and demonstrating a “legacy of giving back to the community.” In her acceptance speech, Judge Jackson stated that “the responsibility” of being a judge means “doing the work that is necessary to protect the rule of law and to promote equality and justice for all.”


Her exemplary background alone should make the decision of confirming her to the highest court in the land a quick and easy one; Judge Jackson’s esteemed qualifications embodies her dedication to advancing and protecting human and civil rights. By confirming her to the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress would help in reassuring that the court works for everyone.




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