The Washington Lawyers’ Committee congratulates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on her confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. As Senator Warnock noted, this is a moment of “joy” and a “great day … for the United States of America, for our system of government, and the grand march toward the fulfillment of the sacred covenant we have with one another as an American people. E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one.”
We celebrate this moment because it is long past time that a Black woman sat on the highest court in the land. Much has been made of the symbolism of this nomination, but it is far more than symbolic. Justice Jackson’s lived experience will enrich the search for justice that should be, and sometimes is, at the center of the work of our judiciary.
We also celebrate her work as a public defender, a lawyer who took on pro bono cases, a member of the Sentencing Commission, and her tenure as a District and Circuit Court Judge. Only Justice Sotomayor – the other woman of color on the bench – has significant experience in a trial courtroom and has seen how the conduct of our judiciary profoundly affects lives and communities. Justice Jackson knows the impact in the real world of what most of the Supreme Court treats as ideology masquerading as “judicial philosophy.”
In recent years, the legitimacy of the Court has suffered. The confirmation of Justice Jackson is an important step to restoring the integrity of the Court. She does not bear that burden alone, but her contribution by her background, experience, and the dignity that she brought to the confirmation process, has been essential.