Senate should appoint Jackson as next Supreme Court justice


Photo used with permission from Wikimedia Commons

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with Delaware Senator Chris Coons following her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Although it is often overlooked, the Supreme Court plays a significant role in Americans’ daily lives, especially during tumultuous and politically charged periods of time. Supreme Court justices, who serve life terms and cannot be fired, take on the most important cases in the country and assist, over time, in changing the implementation and meaning of America’s “living” Constitution. As a result, whenever a justice steps down and another one is appointed, America’s legal landscape has the potential to drastically change.

On Feb. 25, President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the next Supreme Court justice following Stephen Breyer’s imminent retirement. If confirmed with a simple majority vote in the Senate, Jackson would become just the fifth woman and the first African American woman to have a seat on the Supreme Court.

Jackson is a highly qualified candidate for the job as she attended Harvard Law School and served on both the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and, more recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She is also a left leaning moderate who would not change the current six to three right leaning sway of the Court, but would add a new perspective and increase the diversity among the nine justices.

Over the years, Jackson has had to deal with hundreds of important cases, and her decisions highlight her relatively unbiased viewpoints. Although she tends to side with labor unions, such as in the 2022 case between the American Federation of Government Employees and the Federal Labor Relations Authority, she also, in 2019, helped the Trump administration secure a win against environmental groups who opposed the building of the border wall. By making decisions that have benefited both liberals and conservatives, Jackson has cemented herself as someone who can be trusted to make the right choice, even if it is unpopular.

Critics of Biden’s decision to appoint Jackson, especially those who are Republicans,  have pointed to Biden solely considering African American females for his potential nomination. Although he explicitly stated this required criteria, it has been done implicitly since the founding of America as every justice was a white male until the appointment of Thurgood Marshall in 1967, so Jackson’s nomination is just as fair and valid as every justice’s before her.

If appointed to be the next Supreme Court justice, Jackson would likely serve for decades, encouraging others along the way. As it currently stands, less than 2% of all federal judges are African American women, so Jackson’s influence would likely inspire a more diverse and racially just legal system than the one that exists today.

While Jackson’s appointment, just like that of any other moderate left leaning judge, would likely not have any short term impact on the Court’s legal decisions and influence due to the current conservative majority, her presence in the spotlight of America’s major legal decisions would motivate change in future generations of children all around the country.