Hearings Begin for SCOTUS Nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

The Senate Judiciary Committee began the first day of hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (https://apnews.com/article/ketanji-brown-jackson-confirmation-hearing-live-updates-54fe3957e4cca1a6d6dde5202631d0c2). Judge Jackson’s nomination will fill the seat for retiring Justice Stephen Breyer who has served since 1994. This marks the fifth time in five years that there has been a vacancy in the Supreme Court.

Judge Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Miami, Florida. She attended Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude in 1992. She then attended Harvard Law School, graduating cum laude in 1996. After graduating she served in various capacities including as a law clerk to Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, then to Judge Bruce M. Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and then for Justice Stephen Breyer in the Supreme Court. During the presidency of Barack Obama she was nominated to serve as the Vice Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and then as the Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. On June 17, 2021 President Biden appointed her as Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Today’s hearings will include opening statements from committee chairman Senator Dick Durbin (D - IL) and ranking member Senator Chuck Grassley (R - IA) and the 20 other committee members. Then Judge Brown will make her own opening statement. The committee will question her on Tuesday and Wednesday and make their decision to recommend Judge Jackson on Thursday. Because they have a majority (albeit slim), Democrats expect to confirm the nomination before the Easter recess begins on April 11.

If confirmed, Judge Jackson will be only the third African-American justice to serve on the Supreme Court (after Justice Thurgood Marshall and current Justice Clarence Thomas) and the first female African-American Justice. This will also mark the second time an African-American woman has held a new position in government, with Vice President Harris being the first female and first African-American vice president in U.S. history. Even if she is confirmed, “conservative” justice will still hold a 6-3 supermajority on the Court.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

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