Judge Ketanji Jackson

Judge Ketanji Jackson

Biden to Nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

In nominating Jackson, Biden delivers on a campaign promise to diversify a court that was made up entirely of white men for almost two centuries.

Judge Ketanji Jackson
Judge Ketanji Jackson

President Joe Biden will nominate federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former public defender, to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, a decision expected to draw praise from progressives.

In nominating Jackson, Biden delivers on a campaign promise to diversify a court that was made up entirely of white men for almost two centuries.

Judge Jackson, 51, attended Harvard as an undergraduate and for law school, and served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the agency that develops federal sentencing policy, before becoming a federal judge in 2013. Jackson is currently a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Judge Jackson would be the current court’s second African American justice. Justice Clarence Thomas is the other. Only three African Americans have ever served on the Supreme Court. Thurgood Marshall, an American lawyer and civil rights activist, served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 1967 until 1991. Marshall was the Court’s first African American justice.

Jackson will also be the sixth woman to serve on the court. Her confirmation would mean that for the first time in history four women would sit together on the nine-member court.

The current court includes three women: Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina; Elena Kagan, nominated to the court in 2010 by President Barack Obama; and Coney Barrett, nominated by President Donald Trump in 2020.

Jackson’s nomination must be confirmed by the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority by a slim 50-50 margin with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker. Senators have set a tentative goal of confirmation by April 8. Hearings could start as soon as mid-March.

If confirmed, Jackson will replace one of the more liberal justices, so she would not tip the balance of the court, which now leans 6-3 in favor of conservatives.

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