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08th Apr 2022

Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson? The first Black woman on the Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first Black female associate justice to sit on The Supreme Court in 233 years. 

The American Supreme Court has only had two previous Black associate justice and they were both men. 

The former federal judge won the seat with 53 votes in favour and 47 against. She went through 10 hours of Senator’s questions before her nomination. 

Vice President Kamala Harris, who is the first-ever female Black vice president announced the victory. 

Having worked as a federal judge in Columbia she was also previously a public defender and will be the first person on The Supreme Court who has worked as such. 

The Supreme Court is something that Ketanji is no stranger to as following her studies at Harvard she worked as a legal clerk for Associate Justice Stephen Breyer. 

In a full-circle moment, this is who she will be replacing as she was nominated by President Joe Biden in February. 

This also fulfilled Biden’s campaign promise of having a Black woman on the Supreme Court.

The importance of having a Black woman on the Supreme Court has not gone unnoticed in the way of how important it is for representation. 

Sky News reported that Guy-Uriel Charles, a Harvard Law professor said; “I do think that as a Black woman she will bring credibility on issues of race and issues of gender.

“In particular, I think young Black girls will have an even stronger sense that all avenues, especially in law, are open to them,” he said. 

As Ketanji is replacing another liberal judge she will not outweigh the current conservative majority on the court.

There will be some very important cases put before Ketanji as a sitting judge however some landmark cases are due to be judged before she takes her place. 

Such as the attempt to overthrow the 1973 Roe v Wade abortion rights case and another hoping to expand gun rights. 

President Joe Biden tweeted his delight after the win; “Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation. We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America,” he said.