Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson?



Ketanji Brown Jackson, seen her rearing a winning gleam at her confirmation hearing, despite the intense line of questioning that she was enduring.

Madison Austin, Photojournalist

“Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson?”- is a question that has been circling around the mouths of Americans for the past several weeks. Since the induction of Justice Amy Coney Barret into the United States Supreme Court in October of 2020, there has been mass speculation about who the next Supreme Court nominee would be. 

The Americans were given their answer in early February when President Joseph R. Biden revealed his plans to nominate Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court. His decision faced mass scrutiny from right-wing Republicans who claimed Jackson to be a radical Democrat with ideas that would throw off the current even-keeled balance in the court. Before raising any speculation, it is important to study Jackson’s past in order to consider the implications of her future as a supreme court justice.

Regardless of public opinion of nominee Jackson, even her nomination marks a monumental moment in United States history. If sworn in, Jackson will become the first African-American woman to be elected onto the Supreme Courtand the third African-American overall. Regardless of her merits, it is an incredible notable moment in progress and the diversification of American politics. “It’s about time” proclaimed Nicole Philips (12) a proud supporter of Jackson’s nomination.

Ketanji Brown Jackson is no stranger to the world of Washington D.C., as she was born in the city of ___, and spent many years of her youth in the ____. Several years later, her family moved to Miami, Florida where she rose to become a valued member of her community. Famously hardworking, she was a speech and debate star throughout her middle and high school career as well as the Student body president of her high school, Miami Palmetto Senior High School (whitehouse.gov).

When Jackson was young, her father decided that he wanted to become a lawyer, and Jackson enjoyed watching him prepare for his law exams. She recalls spending several late nights of her youth up alte helping her father prepare for his law schooling. She then decided that she wanted to follow in his footsteps, and she dreamed of attending Harvard University. That dreamher reality as she attended both Harvard University and Harvard Law school, where she graduated magna cum laude and summa cum laude, respectively (ballotpedia.org).

After graduating, she worked as a public defender, the type of lawyer who provides “legal defense (at all stages of the proceedings) for any person who is not financially able to employ counsel” (counties.org).

Jackson has served a wide variety of positions for the United States government. Often known for her extensive knowledge of the constitution, Jackson has worked in D.C. for most of her professional career, and she has racked quite an impressive list of services throughout her tenure in D.C. She was a Supreme Court clerk for Justice Breyer, the Vice Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission under President Obama, a judge on the District Court for the District of Columbia under President Obama, and a Judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit under President Biden (whitehouse.gov). 

It is her excellence in government that caught the attention of President Biden earlier this year, as Justice Breyer announced his plan to retire this June. Her qualifications and immensely recognizable history mark her as a well-earned nominee for this position. If all goes according to plan, the Senate Judiciary Committee vote will take place on April 4, 2022.