Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black woman appointed to the Supreme Court?

Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black woman appointed to the Supreme Court?

It’s a “historic day”, said Joe Biden, President of the United States. After four days of hearing, the Senate confirmed his appointment as a judge in the Supreme Court of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African-American magistrate to enter the temple of American law, one of whose missions is to settle the country’s important societal debates, such as abortion or same-sex marriage.

This nomination was greeted by a standing ovation from Democrats in the House. She was too hailed by Michelle Obama, as well as Martin Luther King III, the son of the icon of the civil rights struggle, or the charismatic Stacey Abrams, a black candidate for governor of Georgia. Back on a flawless career.

A Florida-born teacher girl

Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, spent his entire childhood in Miami, Florida with a family of teachers in the audience. Her mother, Ellery Brown, became headmistress of public education and her father, Johnny Brown, graduated with a law degree after returning to school.

Par “Proud of their heritage” et “hope for the future”his parents gave him an African first name, Ketanji Onyika, meaning “the charming”, she told Congress at the confirmation hearing to become a judge in the Supreme Court on March 21. Unlike them, who “personally experienced segregation”she pointed out her “luck” to be born after the great civil rights struggles of the 1960s that brought down many racist laws in the southern states of the country.

Brilliant student, Ketanji Brown Jackson distinguished herself in eloquence competitions and graduated from Harvard Law School. It was at this time that she met her future husband, Patrick G. Jackson, then a medical student. “He’s the best husband, father and friend I can imagine”she said.

Married in 1996, Ketanji Brown Jackson and her husband had two daughters: Talia, 21, and Leila, 17. Both were present at their mother’s confirmation hearing, which was addressed to them. “Girls, I know it wasn’t easy because I tried to take on the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I didn’t always find the right balance. But I hope you have seen that with hard work, determination and love, it can be done. ” report CNN (in English).

An ex-officio lawyer before becoming a federal judge

Upon completion of his studies, Ketanji Brown Jackson alternates his experiences in the private sector, in law firms, and in the public, including the Sentencing Commission, an independent agency charged with harmonizing criminal policy in the United States. During her career as a lawyer, she was called to defend defendants who could not afford to pay for their own lawyer, being ex officio commissioned by the Washington Legal Aid Service.

“Anyone accused of criminal conduct by the government, regardless of their wealth or the nature of the charges, is entitled to the assistance of a lawyer.”

Ketanji Brown Jackson

at his hearing before the Senate

She also explained that she was struck by their ignorance of the law and that, once she became a judge, she “great care” to explain its decisions to convicts, so that they understand the seriousness of their actions and the sanction imposed.

In 2013, his career took a new turn. Democratic President Barack Obama has named her federal judge in Washington. Over the next eight years, she made dozens of decisions. In 2019, eshe disowns President Donald Trump, who is trying to stop Congress from convening one of his advisers in the case of suspected collusion between Moscow and the future president’s campaign team in 2016. “The main lesson from the last 250 years of American history is that presidents are not kings.” she wrote dyears a long text (PDF in English).

A candidate backed by Joe Biden and Democratic elected officials

His appointment was a campaign promise by Joe Biden. That’s why, as soon as he was elected in 2021, he appointed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the influential Washington Federal Court of Appeal, which was seen as a springboard for the Supreme Court. And when Progressive Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, announced his decision to leave the Supreme Court in January, it made perfect sense that Joe Biden was the replacement. Ketanji Brown Jackson was the replacement. She had been her assistant at the beginning of her career in 1990-2000.

All Democratic elected officials and three moderate Republican senators, Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, voted to bring this experienced jurist into the American Temple of Law. “You’re here because you deserve it” and “no one will steal my joy!” launched Black Senator Cory Booker at the hearing, in a flurry that shed a tear from the magistrate. In its 233 years of existence, the highest judicial institution in the country has never been known that five women, four White and one Hispanic, and two black men, one of whom, Clarence Thomas, was appointed by George Bush Father and still sits.

During his congressional hearing, Ketanji Brown Jackson has taken on the role of “model” for “little girls from all over the country” and hopes that his appointment to the Supreme Court will increase “trust” of African Americans in the Judiciary. In her previous confirmation process, she had already sworn to stand aside in her work as a judge. “his personal opinions and any other inappropriate considerations”, including his skin color. But “I may have a different life experience than my colleagues”she had added. “And I hope that can be of interest.”

A judge who aroused Republican opposition

Yes Ketanji Brown Jackson was a rather popular candidate for public opinion, she had to face attacks from Republican senators at her hearing. Republican elected officials have criticized the magistrate’s assessment in order to present her as one “Judge militant sweet with crime “, raises the Guardian (article in English). Several have accused her of serving too light sentences in several child pornography cases. Washington Post (article in English). Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn also pointed the finger at seat held by the magistrate on the board of a school which “pushes anti-racist education program for white families”reports the New York Times (paid article).

Although the appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson memorable, it does not change the political composition of the Supreme Court, which remains one of the most conservative in recent decades. The transfer of power enters Stephen Breyer and Ketanji Brown Jackson should take place on June 30.

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