Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court on April 11, making her the first Black female justice to be appointed.
Jackson was confirmed by a narrow 53-47 majority by the U.S. Senate following four days of extremely contentious confirmation hearings.
Despite the polarized nature of the Senate, President Joe Biden was shown bipartisan support for his nomination of the liberal-leaning Jackson. Republican senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney crossed party lines to endorse the appointment citing the importance of Biden’s effort to diversify the bench.
Political science professor R.G. Cravens said that Ketanji Brown Jackson should be a standard for all appointments to the federal court level.
“It’s 2022 and we’ve only just confirmed the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court — that says a lot about the barriers to equality that still exist for women and people of color in our society,” Cravens said. “Hopefully, our governing institutions will one day reflect the full diversity of people and experiences that make up our country. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation shows us that it is possible.”
Ketanji Brown Jackson has served nine years as a judge on both the Court of Appeals and the District Court for the District of Columbia and has an extensive judicial resume.
However, graphic communications junior Madison Jackson, not related to Ketanji Brown Jackson, felt that the majority of Republican lawmakers unfairly refused to acknowledge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s qualifications during the hearing process.
“They were reflecting racism based on her skin color instead of emphasizing her accomplishments and her qualifications to be a Justice,” Madison said. “I personally would like to see more Republicans have concern for minorities and the achievement of Black people.”
While the road to becoming a Justice may not have been easy, Madison is excited by what Ketanji Brown Jackson’s appointment means for people of color.
“Maybe one day we aren’t looking at their skin color and their sex or sexual orientation, we’re looking at what their qualifications are,” she said. “Part of increasing diversity is looking at people based on their skill instead of just selecting people as token minorities.”
Ketanji Brown Jackson’s tenure on the Court is expected to solidify the liberal wing of the 6-3 conservative-dominated Court. She will take her seat when Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer.