Ketanji Jackson Deserves To Be a Supreme Court Justice

by Tatiana Rodriguez ‘23

President Joe Biden during his presidential campaign vowed to nominate the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice, and he has lived up to this promise by selecting Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Stephen Breyer who is retiring. Jackson is expected to be confirmed by the Senate in early April; however, there is the likelihood that perhaps only a handful of the 50 Republican senators will vote for her confirmation. Although much of the criticism from conservatives lately has been vague attacks on Jackson’s record as Federal Court judge, their initial argument was that Biden was practicing “reverse racism” and only nominated Jackson because of her skin color and gender. This is insulting to her as it implies that she could not be a Black woman and highly qualified to be a justice. Despite Jackson’s extensive qualifications, it is the Republicans that fail to see beyond her skin color and gender.

These accusations of reverse racism ignore Jackson’s remarkable qualifications. The claim that Jackson was nominated for the Supreme Court just because she is a Black woman is insulting when one looks at her educational background and extensive accomplishments during a 30-year professional career as a lawyer and then judge. Jackson went to Harvard Law school, sat as a United States District Judge, and worked as a lawyer in a practice that focused on civil and criminal appellate litigation.

Jackson is highly qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court and her race and sex are added bonuses. As an African American woman, Jackson provides an unprecedented perspective on the Supreme Court. The increased diversity there will better reflect the demographics of the United States. Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court will provide a different insight on issues that might impact women and people of color.

Along with the better reflection of the United States on the Supreme Court, Jackson will also serve as an example for decades to come to young Black women. It is important for young African American women to see someone living their dreams in order for them to know that the possibility to reach the tallest peaks of a profession will be there for them. Instead of only seeing white people (and most often white men) in positions with high power, Jackson can now be seen as a representation of what opportunity there is for women like her. Jackson will inspire many who share her race and gender to do the hard work and know that their dreams are truly possible.

Biden kept his word by nominating Jackson and making history. Jackson has done all the work she needs and is extremely qualified for the position as a Supreme Court Justice. Her gender and race contribute to the needed representation in American government. Now, it is up to Senate Republicans to help confirm Jackson’s and be on the right side of history.