The confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th Justice of the Supreme Court is a groundbreaking moment for the nation and in the Court’s 233-year history.
“Judge Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court affirms what we’ve always known – a Black woman’s place is everywhere, including the highest court of the land,” says CURE President Dr. Judy Lubin. “Judge Jackson earned this moment and Black women in this country have earned this long overdue moment of representation and acknowledgment of our talents and contributions.
Of the 115 justices previously appointed to the Court, Black women have conspicuously been absent. Meaningful representation matters and Judge Jackson’s confirmation is particularly meaningful because of who she is and the breadth and depth of experience she’ll bring to the Court. From an early age, Judge Jackson faced the sting of racism when naysayers tried to dampen her aspirations. When she told her high school guidance counselor that she wanted to attend Harvard, her counselor said she should not set her sights “so high.” Judge Jackson went on to not only graduate from Harvard, but to attend Harvard Law School.
Her distinguished career has included clerking for Justice Stephen Breyer and serving as a federal public defender and judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Jackson’s remarkable record includes service as Vice Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission and her current position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court.
For many Black women and women of color, a long list of professional accomplishments is still accompanied by unrelenting and intense scrutiny by those in positions of power that question our intellect, choices and aspirations. Just as Judge Jackson’s high school counselor would be part of a long list of individuals who may have doubted or questioned her brilliance, each time she has aspired to a higher level in her judicial career, she faced detractors. During her confirmation hearing, Republican senators engaged in theatrics that exemplified the racist and sexist tactics that occur everyday to downplay and question Black women’s intellect and qualifications.
We honor the power and resilience of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson through hours of unfounded attacks and share in the joy, pride and celebration of this historic moment. In an era when Black women’s leadership is transforming institutions and pushing the nation toward equity and justice, with her record of public service and lived experience, Justice Jackson will be a powerful voice as critical issues come before on the bench.