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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Nominated to Become first Black Woman to sit on Supreme Court

Wikicago, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The White House announced today that President Biden has selected to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jackson, currently a judge on U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, will be the first Black woman to serve on the nation's highest court if confirmed.

The nomination ends a month-long search and fulfills a campaign promise by Biden to nominate a Black woman to the bench.

The administration said in a statement Biden "sought a candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law" to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced he would step down from the Supreme Court after 27 years last month at the end of the current term.
"He also sought a nominee—much like Justice Breyer—who is wise, pragmatic, and has a deep understanding of the Constitution as an enduring charter of liberty," it added. "And the President sought an individual who is committed to equal justice under the law and who understands the profound impact that the Supreme Court’s decisions have on the lives of the American people."

Jackson, a former clerk for Breyer, has served as a federal appellate judge, a federal district court judge, a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an attorney in private practice and as a federal public defender.

The Democratic Party will likely need all its members in Washington to confirm the historic appointment in a 50-50 Senate (50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and two Independents who caucus with the Democrats), though there will be an attempt at bi-partisanship. 

When Jackson was confirmed to the appellate bench, she had the support of three Republican senators. If needed, however, the Democrats can confirm the appointment with their 50 votes and Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker.

She was born in Washington and grew up in Miami. The daughter of educators, Jackson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, then attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

After law school, Jackson served in Breyer’s chambers as a law clerk. Then served as a federal public defender from 2005 to 2007, representing defendants on appeal who did not have the means to pay for a lawyer. If confirmed, she would be the first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court

From 2013 to 2021, she served as a United States District Judge for the District of Columbia. She has been confirmed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis three times – twice as judge and once to serve on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Jackson's husband Patrick serves as Chief of the Division of General Surgery at Georgetown University Hospital. She lives with him and their two daughters in Washington.

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