11 members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee are making a mockery of the Supreme Court confirmation process
During the time this article was being written, the 22 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were delivering speeches about their positions on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination. It would be a travesty if, as predicted, it will be an 11-11 tie, since no Republican members of the committee appear courageous enough to vote for her.
The confirmation of Judge Jackson, who is currently a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit, to the seat vacated by the retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Judge Stephen Breyer will make her the first Black woman ever to serve on the court. If confirmed, Judge Jackson will shatter the proverbial glass ceiling for Black women and cause America to celebrate a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, as articulated by Martin Luther King Jr. The term “glass ceiling” refers to the sometimes invisible barrier to success that many women come up against in their careers.
This should not be the case for Judge Jackson. She received her commission as a United States Circuit Judge in June of 2021. From 2013 until 2021, she served as a United States District Judge and was Vice Chair and Commissioner for the United States Sentencing Commission. Judge Jackson also served as a law clerk to three federal judges: Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States, Judge Bruce M. Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. She received a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1996, where she served as a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review. She received an A.B., magna cum laude, in Government from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1992. In light of all this, Judge Jackson’s credentials and experience, on top of her competence and responsibility, makes the conduct and attempted roadblocks set by the Republican senators very disturbing.
Despite her long history on the federal bench, the Republican Senate has used one sentencing decision on child pornography to paint her as soft on crime, in hopes of derailing her confirmation. Echoing Rep. Joyce Betty (D-OH), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and Wade Henderson and interim president of the nonprofit Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, failure to support the confirmation of the appointment sends the wrong message to the American people about the process, suggesting that preparation for this position does not adhere to any official standard; rather, appointment is muddied by intangibles.
While following the Senate confirmation hearings, it has become abundantly clear that they fear not only progress but also principled jurisprudence. They have attempted to discredit Judge Jackson for performing her duties consistent with the authority Congress provided federal judges in the areas of sentencing, immigration, and civil rights. It also exposes their desire to perpetuate the false narrative that Black women should be invisible and undermined by drawing a line in the sand and establishing limits that only Black women cannot cross.
Here are the facts: the Supreme Court Justices were white until the appointment of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Justice, in 1967.Since then, only two other non-white Justices have been appointed: Thurgood Marshall’s Black successor, Clarence Thomas, in 1991, and Latina Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2009. Of the 115 justices, 110 have been men. Only one woman, Harriet Miers, has been nominated to the court unsuccessfully. Her nomination to succeed Justice Sandra Day O’Connor by George W. Bush in 2005 was withdrawn because she was not conservative enough, particularly because of her perceived liberal beliefs surrounding abortion.
President Biden’s decision to nominate Judge Jackson, on the other hand, was not based on her political ideology but rather her integrity and commitment to serve as a final arbiter of the law, and ensuring that the American people receive equal justice under law. Currently, Judge Jackson is part of the federal judiciary, which is a respected institution throughout America and the world for its excellence. She is independent, and has delivered sound and equal justice under the law.
The extensive reviews conducted by the American Bar Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People revealed that Judge Jackson non-judicial comments and writings show that she is sensitive to the role of race in America and that she has upheld a race-conscious policy against constitutional attacks.
She sat on a three judge panel of the Appeals Court that denied former President Trump’s assertion of executive privilege surrounding the release of White House records about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. She stated that “Presidents are not kings, they do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control.”
In addition to this ruling, she blocked a Trump policy aimed towards the increase and speeding up of deportations due to the impact it would have on countless families. Judge Jackson’s background is extraordinary, and her demonstration and mastery of the law is impeccable. Despite having presided over 550 cases in her eight years as judge at the federal District Court level, the vast majority of Senate Republicans oppose her confirmation, cherry-picking cases of child pornography and representation of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
During the confirmation hearing, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he will oppose her confirmation, citing in his distorted view her willingness to turn a blind eye to the plain meaning of the law when confronted with liberal causes. However, it was proven time and time again that Judge Jackson followed common judicial practices.
It is obvious those who oppose her confirmation prefer someone on our country’s highest court who they can manipulate in an effort to administer unfair and partial justice .To those archaic and arrogant segments of our society, the past is gone and our future looks bright. When Judge Jackson is confirmed this week, the Supreme Court will look and think more like America than ever before.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Justice.