On March 24, the fourth and final day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman nominated for the Supreme Court, concluded.
“Jackson’s appointment is certainly a milestone within the history of the U.S. Supreme Court and underscores how much concern there is with inclusivity when it comes to staffing the federal court system,” said Professor Gary Rose, Chairman of the department of government.
According to the Associated Press, Ketanji Brown Jackson worked as a public defender and served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission before she was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama.
Jackson faced many challenging questions during her week in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“During the first day of the hearing, the federal judge had to endure hours of public scrutiny from skeptics, namely the Republican senators who are erecting a wall of opposition to her landmark nomination, the first in the court’s 233-year history, and may vote against her confirmation,” reported the Associated Press.
“It was really traumatizing to watch,“ said Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, to the Associated Press. “My spirit feels it was to bring this Black woman down because she’s about to break the glass ceiling that, once broken, opens the door to more.”
While the scrutinization of Jackson brought back memories for some Black women who have had to constantly defend their ability and skill to perform well, other people believe that these steps were necessary in order to properly consider Jackson for the position.
“Judge Jackson has been scrutinized for her judicial philosophy, her previous rulings on abortion, and most importantly, the criticism of her rulings regarding offenders of child pornography laws,” said senior Ryan Silverstein, President of the College Republicans.
Silverstein raised comparisons to the harsh questioning of some nominees put forward by Republican Presidents.
“In my opinion, the criticism is unequivocally justified, considering the previous three nominees were subjected to non-stop attacks not related to their judicial records from members of the Democratic Senate Caucus such as allegations of gang rape, accusations of racism for adopting an African American Child and bigotry regarding other nominees’ Christian faith,” said Silverstein.
While some believe that the criticism was justified, many still believe that having the first Black female Supreme Court justice will be a positive change in society as shown by Sen. Cory Booker’s speech to Jackson on the third day of hearings.
“You faced insults here that were shocking to me,” said Booker to the Associated Press. “I’m sorry, you’re a person that is so much more than your race and gender. You’re a Christian. You’re a mom. You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American.”
With the final confirmation vote to be expected next week, some have also said that it is also important to recognize some of the important figures in history who have contributed to Jackson’s potential appointment.
“Important breakthroughs occurred well before Jackson’s selection: President Lyndon Johnson appointed Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American, to the Supreme Court; President Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman, to the Supreme Court; President George H.W. Bush appointed the second African-American, Clarence Thomas, to the Supreme Court; Barack Obama appointed the first Latina, Sonia Sotomayor, to the Supreme Court,” said Rose.
“So Jackson’s selection by President Biden can be viewed as a continuation of Presidents demonstrating sensitivity to inclusivity and sensitivity to the voices of demographic groups once on the margins of American society, not to mention how such appointments also reflect very wise political considerations,” he said.