Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, formerly Ketanji Onyika Brown, will serve as an associate judge of the Supreme Court of the United States beginning in 2022. The Supreme Court’s first Black woman to hold the position was she.
Early life and education
The first of Johnny and Ellery Brown’s two children, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, was born when they were both employed as public school teachers. After the family moved from Washington, D.C. to Miami, Florida, her father graduated from law school at the University of Miami and began working as an attorney for the Miami-Dade County school board. Her mother became the school’s principal.
Brown was reared in Miami, where he attended local public schools. While a student at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, where she also served as class president, she excelled in speech and debate competitions. In 1988, she joined at Harvard University, where she later fell in love and got married to Patrick Jackson, a fellow student. She graduated with honors from Harvard in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in government. She conducted research on the use of coercion in plea-bargaining during her senior year for her honors thesis.
She spent a year working as a writer and researcher at Harvard before enrolling there to pursue her juris doctor (J.D.) in 1996. When she was there, she served as the supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Supreme Court Clerk
Among other things, law clerks help and advice courts by conducting legal research, writing notes, and drafting and proofreading orders and opinions.
One in three justices confirmed since 1950, including six of the nine current justices, began their careers as clerks for Supreme Court justices. Jackson, who later served as a legal clerk for three federal judges, including Breyer in 1999, would also fit that description.
While beginning his career as a clerk in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Alito did not serve as a Supreme Court justice’s judicial assistant.
If confirmed, Jackson will be the first justice since Justice Thurgood Marshall to have experience as a federal public defender and representing low-income defendants in criminal proceedings.
In 1940, Marshall, the first Black justice on the Supreme Court, established the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and sought to advance minority rights through the legal system. Jackson spent two and a half years working for the Guantánamo Bay detainees and poor clients in criminal cases in the federal public defender’s office in Washington, D.C.
Director of the Judiciary Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, Alicia Bannon, stated, “What judges see is frequently impacted by the experiences that they have.” A judge gains valuable insight into how the criminal justice system functions and any potential unfairness or obstacles inside it by having to navigate the system on behalf of poor defendants.
Federal judges with expertise as public defenders are less frequently seen in federal and state courts than those with prosecutorial and corporate backgrounds.
Bannon claims that President Biden’s nomination of Jackson demonstrates his “consistency” with his pledge to increase the professional diversity of the federal judiciary. The number of candidates for lower courts who have experience as public defenders or in the civil rights movement has increased significantly, according to Bannon.
In addition, if approved, Jackson will be the only justice on the new court with prior experience working for the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a nonpartisan, independent organization established by Congress in 1984 to enhance transparency and proportionality in sentencing.
Breyer, who served on the Sentencing Commission from 1985 to 1989, is the only sitting justice with prior experience. After working at private law firms, Jackson was appointed by Obama to the panel and assisted in rewriting the recommendations for the suggested sentences for drug-related offences.
According to Professor Steve Vladeck at the University Of Texas School Of Law, Jackson’s experiences with the public defender’s office and the Sentencing Commission will be crucial because they demonstrate that she is aware of the other side of the criminal justice system.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson served as a federal judge before being nominated to the Supreme Court, as did every other sitting justice with the exception of Kagan.
Jackson, however, served as a judge on the federal district and appeals courts for approximately nine years, which is longer than the tenures of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Justices Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett, who each held their positions for less than three years before being nominated.
According to Vladeck, Ketanji Brown Jackson has more judicial experience than four of the current justices did when they first joined the court.
Vladeck argues that the most crucial factor is “how much the nominee fills out the court and adds perspectives that are either not adequately or not at all represented.”
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, frequently regarded as the second-highest court, appointed Jackson last year. Biden made the appointment. Jackson has previously presided over the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for more than eight years. The only sitting justice who previously served as a judge in the trial or district courts is Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Who is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Replacing
As the first female black woman affirmed in as a justice on the U.S. On Thursday, Ketanji Brown Jackson made history in the Supreme Court. Jackson, 51, will replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who will leave the Supreme Court at noon after nearly 28 years of service. Jackson will replace Breyer.
President Joe Biden proposed Jackson for the Supreme Court after Justice Breyer declared in January that he would retire at the conclusion of the court’s 2021 term, which ended on Thursday morning.
Breyer responded, “I am pleased today for Ketanji,” in his own statement. She has received a spot on this Court through her dedication, honesty, and brilliance. For my fellow Justices, I am happy. They get a friend who understands, considerate, and cooperative. For America, I am happy. Ketanji will understand the law sensibly and fairly, enhancing how well it serves the needs of the American people.