Today marks a historic day as Ketanji Brown Jackson is confirmed to the Supreme Court as the first female African American Justice, a long overdue first. Of the 115 justices that have served on the Supreme Court, only seven have not been white men. Jackson is undoubtedly a powerful symbol of what can and should be achieved by women of color.
Jackson’s presence on the Court will widen the perspectives that are brought to judicial debate. Her own lived experience as a Black woman enriches her assessments of day-to-day life in the United States, providing a necessary counterpoint to the historical white male majority.
As an organization that focuses on fighting for justice for those that need it, not just those that can afford it, the Advocacy Center sees Jackson as a fellow champion. At her confirmation hearings Jackson said, “I have dedicated my career to ensuring that the words engraved on the front of the Supreme Court building, “Equal Justice Under Law”, are a reality and not just an ideal.”
Jackson served as a public defender for nearly nine years, choosing to defend men and women who could not afford a lawyer but deserved justice. She also comes to the Court having served as a U.S. District Court judge for eight years, an area of legal work only shared by one other Justice, Sonia Sotomayor. Her experience as a trial judge provided her with the unique opportunity to directly confront the impact our judicial system was having on people’s lives. Jackson understands the importance of seeing the humanity of all people in the courtroom, an understanding that will no doubt affect her legal interpretations in the highest courtroom in our country.
Most importantly, Jackson’s prior rulings have shown a dedication to upholding legal protections for people with disabilities, workers, immigrants, and those most vulnerable. These are the men, women, and families we fight for every day, who will be impacted by Jackson fighting for them too.