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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Friday, making her the first black woman to be appointed to the nation’s highest court.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

Jackson, 51, would take the seat of Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced his retirement in late January. Jackson previously worked as a law clerk for Breyer.

“It’s time we had a court that reflects all the talent and greatness of our nation with a candidate with extraordinary qualifications, and that we inspire all young people to believe that they can one day serve their country at the highest level.” , Biden said. as he introduced Jackson in the Cross Hall of the White House. “I admired those traits of pragmatism, historical perspective, wisdom, character in a jurist appointed by Republican presidents as well as Democratic presidents.”

When Jackson thanked her from her family, friends and colleagues, she approached Breyer and said, “Mr. Justice Breyer, the members of the Senate will decide whether I take your seat, but please know that I can never replace you.

Jackson now faces a divided Senate over his confirmation. She has received bipartisan support three times, most recently during Senate confirmation last year for the United States Court of Appeals, when three Republicans voted for her.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, who voted against Jackson last year, promised in a statement a “rigorous and comprehensive review of Judge Jackson’s nomination.”

“I also understand that Judge Jackson was the favored choice of far-left black money groups who have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the court itself,” McConnell said.
A fundraising email from the National Republican Congressional Committee cast Jackson as “a radical leftist who wants to tear our Constitution to shreds.”

By contrast, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, was more measured in his statement.

“Judges must have an unwavering commitment to the Constitution – including its limits on the power of the courts,” the senator said. “A judge must also be an unwavering defender of the institution of the court, as Judge Breyer was. As I have always done, I will make my decision based on the candidate’s experience, qualifications, temperament and legal philosophy.

Naturally, congressional Democrats praised Biden’s choice.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, has promised “a fair, expeditious, and expeditious process,” an obvious reference to swift confirmations by a GOP-controlled Senate of the president’s three high court picks Donald Trump.

“The historic appointment of Justice Jackson is an important step in ensuring the Supreme Court reflects the nation as a whole,” Schumer said in a statement. “As the first black female Supreme Court justice in the Court’s 232-year history, she will inspire countless future generations of young Americans.”

“Now more than ever, Americans need a Supreme Court that will deliver on the promise written above its doors: equal justice under the law,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, said in a statement. . “Ketanji Brown Jackson’s track record and experience shows she is the right person to help deliver on that promise.”

Senator Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee presided over Jackson’s 2009 confirmation hearing for the U.S. Sentencing Commission, said she “has experience and extremely impressive legal credentials”.

“It is high time for the Supreme Court to seat a highly qualified black female attorney as a member, as we strive to provide equal justice under the law for all Americans,” Cardin said in a statement.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, offered Jackson his “strong support” in a statement. He urged the Senate to quickly review his nomination and confirm Jackson with bipartisan support before the Supreme Court begins its next term in October.

After being nominated by then-President Barack Obama in 2009 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Jackson served until 2104 as vice-chairman of the US Sentencing Commission, the agency responsible for establishing federal sentencing guidelines.

Obama then nominated Jackson to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It was confirmed in 2013.

While serving as a district court judge, Jackson ruled that provisions of three executive orders signed by Trump were invalid. The provisions would have limited trade union rights by restricting the time shop stewards could meet with those they represented.

In September 2019, while hearing a case regarding a Department of Homeland Security rule that expedited deportation of undocumented immigrants without an immigration court hearing, Jackson issued a preliminary injunction to block the action. .

“She understands the broader impact of decisions, whether they’re cases involving workers’ rights or government services,” Biden said. “She cares about making sure our democracy works for the American people.”

Mark Graber, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law, said Jackson was unlikely to be very influential in his early years, with the caveat that no candidate would be.

His distinctive form of liberalism will have an impact in five to 10 years – if the liberals win a fifth seat on the court, he said.

“Right now, what we can expect is every time Breyer has voted, to clear Breyer’s name and replace her,” he said.

Graber, who teaches constitutional law and politics, said Jackson was a solid liberal but predicted she would not be a radical.

Biden’s nominee has drawn praise and support from the National Bar Association, League of Women Voters, People for the American Way, Center for American Progress and the NAACP, among other groups.

“We need black women at all levels of the bench, and especially on the highest court in the land,” NAACP General Counsel Janette McCarthy Wallace said in a statement. “Beginning with Judge Jane Bolin and Judge Constance Baker Motley, black women have been highly skilled and exceptional judges.”

Jackson noted during her White House remarks that she shares a birthday with Motley, the nation’s first black female federal judge. Motley’s life has been inspirational, she said.

“Today, I stand proudly on the shoulders of Justice Motley, sharing not only his birthday but also his unwavering and courageous commitment to equal justice under the law,” Jackson said.

The candidate was accompanied by her youngest daughter Leila and her husband, Patrick, chief of gastrointestinal surgery at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington. His eldest daughter Talia, who attends school in Rhode Island, was not present.

“I can only hope that my life and career, my love for this country and the Constitution, and my commitment to upholding the rule of law and the sacred principles upon which this great nation was founded, will inspire future generations of Americans,” Jackson said. noted.

Capital News Service


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