ABC News and the White House confirmed that President Joe Biden will nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court on Friday, making her the first African American woman to sit on the bench.
The White House said that a formal ceremony would be held at 2 p.m. on Friday in which Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Cory Booker would speak.
Jackson, 51, was appointed by Vice President Biden and confirmed by the Senate last year with Republican backing to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. A source familiar with the meeting said the president called Jackson late Thursday to advise her of the decision.
With her historic nomination, Biden has delivered on a promise he made to Black people in South Carolina during the 2020 presidential race when he was heavily reliant on their support.
Former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden will have his first chance to influence a Court that has shifted drastically to the right in recent years, even if his appointment doesn’t change the present balance of power.
A former clerk to departing Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Jackson has been on the federal bench for more than eight years, following a path taken by numerous nominees in the past.
Federal appeals court judges have filled all but four vacancies on the Supreme Court in the last 50 years, including three current members of the court – Brett Kavanaugh, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas – all of whom were chosen by President Obama in 2013.
On the one hand, he is a Harvard Law School alum and on the other hand, he has worked as a federal public defender, representing both wealthy and poor clients.
Judge Jackson stated in his testimony last year that “public service is a key principle in my family.
If confirmed, she would be the first federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court and the first justice since Thurgood Marshall with criminal defense experience.
During his three Senate confirmation hearings, Jackson has been vetted and confirmed twice as a federal judge, and once as a member of the US Sentencing Commission. The Senate has not examined a nominee for the Supreme Court this many times since Clarence Thomas in 1991.
“I think she’d be a good fit for the position. Since the beginning, she’s had a different attitude than I have “Last year, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham praised Jackson for his leadership in Congress. In addition to Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, he was one of three Republican senators who supported Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Sources indicate that Vice President Biden has long been a fan of Jackson and has helped him rise in the ranks. In 2013, she was initially appointed to the federal bench by the Obama-Biden administration. Before recommending Jackson for appointment to the D.C. Circuit, Biden visited with her one-on-one at the White House last year. Sources say the two have met again recently.
Her “experience in roles at all levels of the judicial system, her character, and her legal genius” impressed President Obama, according to White House spokesman Andrew Bates earlier this month.
Her work as vice-chair of the bipartisan US Sentencing Commission between 2010 and 2014, when she was instrumental in substantial criminal justice changes, has been widely praised by grassroots progressive and civil rights organizations.
As part of a bipartisan effort, Jackson voted in favor of retroactively reducing federal sentencing standards for nonviolent drug offenders.
A civil rights lawyer and advocate, Ben Crump said ABC News, “that woman is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is devoted to bringing justice, respect, and fairness to our nation, and particularly to my community.
Legal academics believe her jurisprudence on the bench has been universally regarded as moderate and measured. During her time on the US District Court for the District of Columbia, she wrote 600 opinions; only 12 were overturned, according to data provided by the Alliance for Justice, a legal advocacy organization.
I’m proud to announce that I am nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court. Currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, she is one of our nation’s brightest legal minds and will be an exceptional Justice.https://t.co/iePvhz1YaA pic.twitter.com/Nzqv2AtN8h
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 25, 2022
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A ruling she made in the Don McGahn subpoena case in 2019 was one of the most high-profile of her career so far. Presidents are not monarchs, according to then-District Court Judge Jackson, and hence cannot claim universal executive privilege over former aides.
In her first appeals court opinion, Judge Jackson ruled in favor of a large federal government workers’ union in a challenge to new federal labor laws that would have made collective bargaining more difficult for the federal government. According to Jackson, the revisions were made in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner, in contravention of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Judge Jackson joined a majority appeals court panel judgment late last year denying former President Donald Trump’s attempt to hide his records from inspection by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 revolt. As recently as last week, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling.
In the words of her former colleagues and allies, Jackson’s style is “Breyer-esque,” attributes that Biden has openly attempted to imitate on the bench.
Sanchi Khare, who clerked for Judge Jackson in 2019, said, “She thinks that the judiciary should be accessible and transparent.” People who go to court or deal with the judicial system, whether they are civil or criminal defendants, should feel that they are being heard and that the court is weighing their views,” she says.
Professor Rachel Barkow, an NYU law professor and former Harvard classmate of Jackson’s, said that Jackson might help “tone down the temperature” around the Supreme Court if he is confirmed.
As a lower court judge, “she is not someone who is a firebrand on her own, innovating and doing new things,” Barkow told ABC. As a matter of fact, I believe she should appeal to people of all political persuasions.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said last week that the nominee would be “respectfully treated and thoroughly examined.” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stated Sunday that his party will not engage in “personal mud attacks,” but rather focus on the candidate’s record.
President Biden says he expects to win over some Republican votes to approve Jackson despite the fact that Democrats already have the votes needed.
Republicans questioned Jackson about her affiliations to progressive legal groups, her judgments against the Trump administration, the impact of reduced sentences, and her work as a public defender for Guantanamo captives during her appeals court confirmation hearing last year.
As a Harvard alumna and a member of the Board of Overseers, she may potentially face questions about her ties to the university ahead of a major Supreme Court challenge to Harvard’s use of race-based Affirmative Action in admissions.
As the historic magnitude of the nomination and the expected Republican attacks, some of which have already been racially charged, have become clear, the president’s allies on Capitol Hill and among Democratic grassroots groups have begun rallying to promote and defend the nominee.
The White House is likely to utilize Jackson’s personal story as an example of what the American Dream is all about.
Members of the Cuban American Bar Association submitted a letter to the president this month saying that her Miami roots will provide her a unique perspective on the rights and lives of those who appear in court.
Jackson went to public school in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Mother was a high school administrator in the county and father was a teacher and then a school board lawyer. Her only sibling, a younger brother, served in the military and saw action in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the past, both of my uncles have been police policemen.
He is a surgeon in the D.C. area where they have raised their two girls together.
To tell the story of someone who has always worked hard, Barkow said, “it’s a story of someone who hasn’t had everything handed to her.”
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