Today, President Biden will announce his intent to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Currently a judge on U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Jackson is one of the nation’s brightest legal minds. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Since Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement, President Biden has conducted a rigorous process to identify his replacement. President Biden sought a candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law. He also sought a nominee—much like Justice Breyer—who is wise, pragmatic, and has a deep understanding of the Constitution as an enduring charter of liberty. And the President sought an individual who is committed to equal justice under the law and who understands the profound impact that the Supreme Court’s decisions have on the lives of the American people.
As the longtime Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the President took seriously the Constitution’s requirement that he make this appointment “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” seeking the advice of Senators in both parties. He studied the histories and case records of candidates, consulted legal experts, and met with candidates.
A former clerk for Justice Breyer, Judge Jackson has broad experience across the legal profession – as a federal appellate judge, a federal district court judge, a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an attorney in private practice, and as a federal public defender. Judge Jackson has been confirmed by the Senate with votes from Republicans as well as Democrats three times.
Judge Jackson is an exceptionally qualified nominee as well as an historic nominee, and the Senate should move forward with a fair and timely hearing and confirmation.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
Judge Jackson has devoted the majority of her career to serving the public—as a U.S. Sentencing Commission lawyer and commissioner; as a federal public defender; and as a federal judge. Judge Jackson currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. From 2013 to 2021, she served as a United States District Judge for the District of Columbia. She has been confirmed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis three times – twice as judge and once to serve on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Judge Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Miami, Florida. Her parents attended segregated primary schools in the South, then attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Both started their careers as public school teachers and became leaders and administrators in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. When Judge Jackson told her high school guidance counselor she wanted to attended Harvard, the guidance counselor warned that Judge Jackson should not to set her sights “so high.” That didn’t stop Judge Jackson. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, then attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
After law school, Judge Jackson served in Justice Breyer’s chambers as a law clerk. Judge Jackson served as a federal public defender from 2005 to 2007, representing defendants on appeal who did not have the means to pay for a lawyer. If confirmed, she would be the first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court.
Prior to serving as a judge, Judge Jackson followed in the footsteps of her mentor Justice Breyer by working on the U.S. Sentencing Commission—an important body, bipartisan by design, that President Biden fought to create as a member of the U.S. Senate. Her work there focused on reducing unwarranted sentencing disparities and ensuring that federal sentences were just and proportionate.
Judge Jackson lives with her husband, Patrick, who serves as Chief of the Division of General Surgery at Georgetown University Hospital, and two daughters, in Washington, D.C.