President Joe Biden’s nomination of federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court is reverberating in D.C. on Friday.
Supporters of the D.C.-born judge who is the first Black woman selected to serve on the court were expected to celebrate outside the Supreme Court Friday night.
Jackson attended Harvard as an undergraduate and law student, worked in private practice for a D.C. law firm and clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer. She went on to serve on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the agency that develops federal sentencing policy, and as a public defender.
The co-director of Howard University’s Civil Rights Clinic, Prof. Tiffany Wright, said Jackson’s experience is meaningful.
“This is the addition of someone who I think is bringing incredible experience to the court and experience that is missing — a former public defender, a judge who’s actually had the experience of sentencing someone and knowing what that means,” she said.
Wright clerked on the D.C. District Court when Jackson was a judge. She said it’s important for the Supreme Court to include voices “that represent the full population.”
For Howard law student Jasmine Marchanks-Owens, Jackson’s experience as a public defender matters.
Both she and Wright said they don’t expect Jackson’s confirmation process to be easy.
“The type of criticisms we’re going to hear are given to Black women in general — being too aggressive, too assertive, being too much whatever I guess is against the status quo,” Marchanks-Owens said.
She said she expects the process to shine a light on issues in this country while also hopefully serving as encouragement to young women like herself pursuing lives in the law.