Is Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination?

Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated by President Joe Biden on February 25, 2022 to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, is the first Black woman selected to serve on the highest court in the nation. Her nomination comes at a historic time, as Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she has been nominated to replace, announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, Ketanji Brown Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court in its 233-year history. Her nomination represents a monumental step toward diversifying the Court and bringing wider representation to the nation’s highest judicial body.

Brief Background on Ketanji Brown Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. in 1970. She earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1992 and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1996. After law school, she clerked for three federal judges, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the man she has now been nominated to replace. Jackson has an extensive legal career spanning over two decades, including experience in both public and private practice. From 2005-2007, she worked as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, D.C. She then joined a private law firm where she specialized in appeals and complex civil litigation. From 2010-2014, Jackson served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, where she helped reform federal sentencing guidelines. In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed her to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where she has served for over eight years. Last year, President Biden elevated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Jackson has ruled on high-profile cases covering a range of issues from labor disputes to congressional subpoenas. If confirmed, she would bring a wealth of experience from all levels of the federal judiciary.

Support for Jackson’s Nomination

Praise from the Legal Community

Ketanji Brown Jackson has received widespread praise and endorsements from the legal community. The National Bar Association, representing the interests of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges, congratulated Jackson on her nomination, calling it a “monumental step in the long march toward a more inclusive federal judiciary.” Top legal organizations including the American Bar Association, the National Association of Women Judges, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights have all expressed strong support for Jackson.

Former clerks for Justice Breyer have also voiced support. They stated in a letter that “we are confident that, if confirmed, she would adjudicate based on the facts and the law, not as a partisan.” Jackson also has the backing of several high-profile Republican-appointed judges, including J. Michael Luttig, a conservative luminary who called Jackson’s nomination “inspired.”

Broad Public Approval

Public opinion polls indicate broad support across partisan lines for Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination. A Gallup poll conducted in February 2022 found that 58% of U.S. adults approved of Jackson’s nomination, while only 13% disapproved. Notably, the poll recorded majority support from Democrats (83% approval) as well as independents (54%) and Republicans (18%).

Historic public interest and engagement was also seen during Jackson’s Senate confirmation hearings in March 2022. Nielsen ratings showed over 20 million people tuned in to watch her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her measured and thoughtful responses appear to have resonated with the public.

Opposition to the Nomination

Criticism from Some Republican Senators

While Ketanji Brown Jackson enjoys diverse support, she has faced opposition from some Republican senators regarding her nomination. During Senate confirmation hearings, several GOP committee members including Sens. Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley used their time to sharply question Jackson’s record as a judge.

Their line of criticism centered around concerns Jackson was “soft on crime” in her sentencing of child pornography defendants. Jackson forcefully rejected those accusations, explaining how as a trial judge she carefully weighed various factors and applied laws passed by Congress. Legal experts have defended Jackson’s sentencing record as reasonable and consistent with other federal judges.

GOP senators also attempted to paint Jackson as an activist judge, a characterization she firmly denied during the hearings. Jackson insisted she would remain independent and neutral in applying the law and Constitution if confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Ideological Concerns from Conservative Groups

Beyond the Senate, some conservative advocacy groups have worked to oppose Jackson’s nomination on ideological grounds. Organizations like the Judicial Crisis Network, Heritage Action and FreedomWorks came out strongly against confirming Jackson to the Supreme Court. They have argued her judicial philosophy is out of the mainstream and criticized liberal positions they believe she supports on issues like abortion, gun rights and religious liberty.

These conservative groups lobbied Republican senators to vote against Jackson, believing her confirmation would shift the Court too far to the left. They expressed a desire to see a nominee more aligned with their priorities and interpretation of the Constitution. However, public polling showed most Americans were not swayed by these ideological attacks.

Likelihood of Confirmation

Despite some opposing voices, the odds remain very strong that Ketanji Brown Jackson will be confirmed by the Senate to the Supreme Court. In the current 50-50 Senate, she cannot afford to lose any Democratic votes. However, moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) have both already voiced their support for Jackson’s confirmation.

During her hearings, Jackson received respectful treatment from Republican members like Graham and Grassley, who called her “very accomplished” and “well-qualified” despite their “disagreements with her on philosophy.” With Democrats united, Jackson is expected to draw GOP votes from Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney and overcome any minority opposition.

Barring an unforeseen scandal, Ketanji Brown Jackson remains on track to make history as the first Black female U.S. Supreme Court justice, with a final confirmation vote likely coming in early April 2022 before Congress’s spring recess. Her intellectual rigor, impeccable credentials and profound character have shined through the confirmation process, paving the way for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.

Opinion Polling on Jackson’s Nomination

Poll Approve Disapprove No Opinion
Gallup 58% 13% 29%
Quinnipiac 54% 13% 33%
Politico/Morning Consult 49% 11% 40%


The historic nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court represents a major milestone for the judiciary and the nation. If confirmed, she will bring impressive experience, qualifications and wisdom to the Court, along with the unique perspective of being the first Black female justice. Despite some partisan opposition, Jackson enjoys broad, bipartisan public support and is on clear path to confirmation. Her presence on the Supreme Court will help instill greater trust in the institution and signal the judiciary is growing more diverse and representative of America. Jackson may provide the tie-breaking vote on a number of major cases that come before the court. Most importantly, she will serve as an inspiration for young women, people of color, and Americans of all backgrounds who aspire to serve their country at the highest levels.

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