Update |

PRH in Action


This week, the Senate will take up President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court.  

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A brilliant jurist and lawyer, Judge Jackson is abundantly qualified to serve on the United States Supreme Court. She has held several positions at the U.S. Sentencing Commission, represented indigent criminal appellants as an Assistant Federal Public Defender, and has served as a federal judge for a decade, first for the District Court for the District of Columbia and then the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.   

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This is also a historic nomination as Judge Jackson becomes the first Black woman nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. To be clear, it is not because she is the first qualified Black woman judge, but because countless supremely skilled candidates have been overlooked for decades.  

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As our partner Fatima Goss Graves at the National Women’s Law Center observed,  

Only 3% of sitting judges are Black women and a majority of Circuit and District courts have zero women of color. This injustice was worsened by Donald Trump’s administration — of the 53 Appeals Court judges he appointed, not a single one was Black, and up until the Biden administration’shistorically-diverse slate of judicial appointments, the Senate went nearly a decade without confirming a Black woman as nominee for the Appeals Circuit. 

Our legal system and the people it effects – all of us – suffer from the lack of diversity in our nation’s courts. It is essential that our judiciary is reflective of, and interested in, the lived experiences of those most impacted by the laws that they consider. Opponents of Judge Jackson have already made insinuations that she is somehow less qualified because she is the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court. Fox News analyst Tucker Carlson questioned her LSAT scores. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rushed through the nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, never questioning her qualifications despite only serving as a federal judge for a few years. Yet he said of Judge Jackson, “a rigorous, exhaustive review” needed to take place. An obvious double standard. These inappropriate, offensive, and dangerous dog whistles must stop. 

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Judge Jackson brings rich experience, important viewpoints, and impeccable credentials into these hearings. She is nothing short of a super star. Her amazing qualifications will be on full display this week and we hope that her confirmation process is smooth and respectful. As the Supreme Court considers cases with far-reaching implications affecting access to abortion, voting rights, environmental protections, and more, it is critical that members of those communities affected are represented in the decisions that will impact all of us for generations to come. 

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Until next time,  

The PRH policy team