President Joe Biden announced Ketanji Brown Jackson as his choice for Supreme Court Justice on Friday following Justice Stephen Breyer’s upcoming retirement. If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
News broke early Friday morning that Biden would be announcing his pick, and by mid-morning he tweeted that he nominated Jackson, calling her “one of our nation’s brightest legal minds,” and adding that she will be “an exceptional Justice.” Biden and Jackson are both due to deliver remarks about the nomination later this afternoon from the White House.
I’m proud to announce that I am nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court. Currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, she is one of our nation’s brightest legal minds and will be an exceptional Justice.https://t.co/iePvhz1YaA pic.twitter.com/Nzqv2AtN8h
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 25, 2022
Jackson graduated from Harvard magna cum laude in 1992 and then attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude in 1996. Her legal career is unusual for Supreme Court justices; after graduation, she attended three federal clerkships, one of which was to Justice Breyer on the Supreme Court, and she also worked in a Washington, D.C. private law firm. But from 2005 to 2007, she worked as a public defender; the last Supreme Court justice to spend significant time representing criminal defendants was Thurgood Marshall, who retired in 1991. Currently, she sits on Washington, D.C.’s federal appellate court.
Jackson has never ruled on a case dealing with abortion, however, when previously asked if prior Supreme Court cases such as Roe v. Wade were correctly decided, she declined to answer. “As a sitting federal judge, all of the Supreme Court’s pronouncements are binding on me, and under the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, I have a duty to refrain from critiquing the law that governs my decisions, because doing so creates the impression that the judge would have difficulty applying binding law to their own rulings,” she replied. “Consistent with the positions taken by other pending judicial nominees, it is my testimony that it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the merits or demerits of the Supreme Court’s binding precedents.”
However, Jackson did write an amicus brief in support of NARAL and other pro-abortion organizations, in support of a law to ban pro-lifers from gathering outside of abortion facilities.
Planned Parenthood quickly expressed its excitement over Jackson’s nomination, as well as optimism that she would work to protect abortion. “Some GOOD news!!” Planned Parenthood tweeted. “Judge Jackson is making history. This nomination arrives as our rights are in crisis, and we believe Judge Jackson will bring a commitment to the Court to protect our individual liberties, including reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights.” NARAL likewise supported Jackson’s nomination, tweeting, “We need a justice on the bench who will uphold reproductive freedom.”
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