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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on her way to Senate confirmation


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
District of Columbia Circuit Appellate Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is theoretically two major votes away from making history as the first African American woman ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court - the confirmation vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the confirmation vote of the Democrat-led U.S. Senate.

And it all started at her family’s dining room table when, as a preschooler, she was doing her “homework” with her father, Johnny Brown.

“My father, in particular, bears responsibility for my interest in the law,” Judge Jackson said Monday during her introduction to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “When I was four, we moved back to Miami so that he could be a full-time law student. We lived on the campus of the University of Miami Law School, and during those years, my mother pulled double duty, working as the sole breadwinner of our family, while also guiding and inspiring 4-year-old me. My very earliest memories are of watching my father study — he had his stack of law books on the kitchen table while I sat across from him with my stack of coloring books.”

“When I think back on those times, there really is no question that my love of the law began in that formative period,” Judge Jackson recalls.

Johnny Brown, who graduated from North Carolina Central University (then North Carolina College at Durham), would later become the chief attorney for the Miami-Dade County School Board. A tremendous personal achievement for sure, but Brown could never have dreamed that his little girl - whose full African name, Ketanji Onyika means “lovely one”- would one day be on the precipice of making history as the first Black woman on the highest court in the land.

Judge Brown also acknowledged her large extended family in several states across the nation, including North Carolina.

Once the questioning started in earnest this week, Judge Jackson, an experienced debater, was able to effectively defend her judicial record, especially against probing Republican committee member attacks disguised as “questions” from senators Marsha Blackburn, Josh Hawley and Lindsay Graham.

Even with the tough, partisan questions trying to portray her as soft on child pornography, terrorism or crime as a result of her many years as a federal public defender, Judge Jackson is fully expected to be supported by the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee, and with Vice President Kamala Harris’ vote, should be confirmed when the full U.S. Senate votes in April.

“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is the most qualified Supreme Court nominee in years,” says North Carolina Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12). “That alone should merit sincere consideration from all 100 senators. She has my full support, and my best wishes for a speedy confirmation.”

“If I am confirmed, I commit to you that I will work productively to support and defend the Constitution and the grand experiment of American democracy that has endured over these past 246 years,” Judge Jackson said Monday.

“I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously. I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath.”