President Joe Biden on Friday formally nominated federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Jackson, currently on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, brings “extraordinary qualifications, deep experience and intellect and a rigorous judicial record to the court,” Biden said at the White House.
“Judge Jackson deserves to be confirmed as the next justice Supreme Court,” Biden said.
He had vowed to pick a Black woman to succeed liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who plans to retire in the summer at the end of the court’s current term. Biden made that promise years earlier as a presidential candidate.
This is not only a campaign promise by Biden, this is a historic nomination. Only seven justices have not been White men in the Supreme Court’s 233-year history. 108 men, four white women, 2 Black men and 1 Hispanic woman but Judge Jackson would be the first African-American woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Taking to the podium after Biden, Jackson said she is “humbled by the extraordinary honor” to be the President’s nominee. She also took a moment to recognize that Biden’s nomination comes amid deadly conflict across the globe.
“I am especially grateful for the care that you have taken in discharging your constitutional duty in service of our democracy, with all that is going on in the world today,” said Jackson, a reference to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Local reactions to this historic nomination:
“Today is a historic day for the United States, for Black people, for Black women, and most of all, for the Supreme Court — an institution that has never known someone like Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson who carries with them a deep and true commitment to upholding our Constitution,” Congressman Jamaal Bowman shared with Black Westchester after hearing about the nomination. “Make no mistake that while Judge Brown Jackson has made history as the first Black woman to ever be nominated to the highest court in the land, she was not chosen because she’s a woman and she was not chosen because of the color of her skin; she was chosen because she is the most qualified and credentialed American for this job. From a young girl who proudly dressed in her mini-Dashiki, a traditional West African clothing to being a double Harvard graduate who spent time as an assistant federal public defender, as a judge on the bench of the U.S. district court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and as someone who has a keen and already personal understanding of the Supreme Court being that she even served as a law clerk to Justice Stephen Breyer over two decades ago, she is beyond qualified. And that is indisputable. Still, I applaud President Biden for his recognition of the Supreme Court’s history that has elevated white men, almost exclusively, to the most important court in our country. Today’s nomination gets us one step closer to a Court that can soon represent the best interests of every American, but there is more work to do to ensure freedom, justice, and equality for all. Judge Brown Jackson has not only my full support, but she also has the full support of the Democratic Party — and having already been confirmed by the U.S. Senate for her current post at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, I am optimistic that the three Republicans who voted to confirm her last year based on her merit and achievements will do so once again. I look forward to the Senate’s swift and fair confirmation process and to Judge Brown Jackson taking her rightful seat on the bench of the United States Supreme Court.”
“Ketanji Brown Jackson is an intellectual heavyweight and highly regarded jurist who has dedicated her life and career to the service of others. I applaud President Biden for making history with this nomination, as well as for making a perfect choice, and I look forward to the Senate’s timely consideration of Judge Jackson,” Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY), a member of the House Judiciary Committee and Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet shared with Black Westchester. “As the far-right supermajority on the Court works to subvert our democracy and unravel fundamental freedoms like a woman’s right to choose, Judge Jackson will be a powerful champion for justice, equality, and the rule of law. A former public defender with a brilliant intellect and track record of public service, Judge Jackson is eminently qualified to serve on the Court and will bring an important perspective and voice to the bench. I also remain clear-eyed about the continuing threat the far-right, 6-3 majority on the Court poses to our democracy and fundamental freedoms. While Judge Jackson will bring a much-needed voice to the bench, her nomination will not change the balance of power on the Court. The only way to restore integrity to the Supreme Court is to expand it. Congress must do exactly that before it’s too late.”
“Today is an important, historic day for all Americans, but especially for every little Black girl who, for the first time, will soon see herself represented in the highest court of the land,” Letitia ‘Tish’ James, the first Black attorney general in New York state history shared. “From her time as a public defender, through her current role as circuit judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a brilliant legal mind who has dedicated her life and career to public service and justice in all forms. The Supreme Court must reflect the diversity and inclusivity of our nation. I congratulate Judge Jackson on her trailblazing nomination, and I look forward to hearing more about her accomplishments in the upcoming hearing.”
“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is an eminently qualified jurist and former public defender who has dedicated her life to serving others. If confirmed Judge Brown will make history as the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice. The nomination of a highly accomplished Black woman to the nation’s highest court is long overdue, I commend President Biden for this terrific pick and I stand in full support of her nomination,” shared Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
Statements from Black Women Leaders
Shavon Arline-Bradley, President Delta for Women in Action: “Delta for Women in Action is thrilled by President Biden’s nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. We are proud of this exceptional nominee – who embodies the principles of our communities and brings lived experience. Black women remain one of the most engaged voting demographics, but we remain underrepresented throughout the federal judiciary. The historic nomination of Judge Jackson will undoubtedly make an indelible mark on the Supreme Court for generations to come.”
Roslyn Brock, Chairman, International Connection and Social Action Committee: “We stand united in the continued fight for Black women to be represented in all arenas important to the progress of our nation, and we are ready to walk arm-in-arm with this administration every step of the way as some of the very best and brightest Black women judges and attorneys are identified, vetted, interviewed, and presented to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Elsie Cooke-Holmes, National President & Chair of the Board, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.: “The members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated applaud President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her impeccable experiences and qualifications make her an excellent choice for this most prestigious seat. It is our hope that this pivotal moment in history will bring the nation closer to achieving greater judicial diversity and we urge the U.S. Senate to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson without delay.”
Bishop Leah Daughtry, Co-Convenor, Power Rising: “With the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, another barrier has fallen. After 233 years, the highest Court in the land will take a giant leap toward full representation of all of America’s people at the table of justice. We applaud President Biden and Vice President Harris on their selection of this exceptionally qualified, deeply experienced jurist. Her voice will help to ensure that our justice system reflects the diversity of all of us.”
Glynda Carr, President and CEO Higher Heights: “Black women have shown how powerful our activism can be, yet we are grossly underrepresented in leadership on every level. Since being in office, President Biden has demonstrated that he recognizes the value of diversity in his administration and has been living out that truth in the selections that he makes. Our country’s leadership should reflect the people it serves, beginning with our nation’s highest court, and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be that long-overdue representation.”
Brandi Colander, April Reign, Kim Tignor & Sabriya I. Williams, She Will Rise: “We are thrilled to see the President honor his commitment of creating a more representative Supreme Court. We believe Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is qualified and ready to serve. We stand at the ready to support a respectful confirmation process as we watch her rise.”
Jotaka Eaddy, Convenor #WinWithBlackWomen: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is an exceptionally qualified jurist who will bring to the Supreme Court her expertise and commitment to the Constitution and values of our democracy. Most importantly, Judge Jackson will bring to the Supreme Court what it has lacked for 233 years – the lived experience of a Black woman. With this nomination, President Biden and Vice President Harris will once again elevate a woman, and in this case a Black woman, to a position that has long been covered by a cement ceiling – today that ceiling is shattered into a million pieces.”
Karen Finney, Strategist, Commentator, Advocate: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson taking her place on the Supreme Court that first Monday in October 2022 will be one of the most inspirational moments in our nation’s history. Known for her brilliance, integrity, commitment to justice, and our constitution, Judge Jackson will expand the diversity of expertise and lived experience on the court to the betterment of representative democracy and justice in America. And frankly, it’s time.”
Dr. Glenda B. Glover, International President & CEO, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Incorporated: “The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated applaud the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the highest court of the land. Her appointment is steeped in historical significance and represents yet another milestone in America fulfilling its promise to African Americans who helped build this country. We stand united in the continued fight for Black women to be represented in all arenas important to the progress of our nation and are ready to walk arm-in-arm with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as she is presented to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation.”
Holli Holiday, President Sisters Lead, Sisters Vote: “Two years ago, on February 25, 2020, presidential candidate Joe Biden made a campaign promise. He said, ‘I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court, to make sure we in fact get every representation.’ Today, President Biden kept his promise.”
Star Jones, Attorney, Advocate, Media Personality & Chair, U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad: “I’m absolutely thrilled at the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve as our next Supreme Court Justice. It makes me extremely proud that President Biden and Vice President Harris are seizing this moment in history to lead with a vision of America at its best and ensuring that the leadership of our democracy reflects a diversity of lived experiences at the highest levels. As the first Black woman to be nominated, the combination of outstanding credentials, character, and lived experience of Judge Jackson ensures that our President has selected a nominee who is more than worthy of a lifetime appointment to our highest court.”
Rachel Noerdlinger, Principal Noerdlinger Strategies: “I applaud the President and Vice President for delivering on their commitment to diversifying the nation’s highest legal body with this historic selection of the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. While it does not change the ideological balance of the Court, it increases the likelihood that our needs and values as Black women will be represented.”
Biden, who reportedly called Jackson and offered her the nomination on Thursday, noted that it’s his hope that the Senate will move forward without hesitation to confirm her, adding that he had spoken with ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in advance of the nomination.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, promised a “fair, timely and expeditious” confirmation process for Jackson and hopes she will win bipartisan support.