Road to success

LuciAnne Nguyen, News Assistant Editor

As Madam C.J. Walker, an African American entrepreneur, once said, “Do not sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” April 7 marks new changes for the Supreme Court. With a 53-47 vote by the U.S. Senate, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is to serve on the Supreme Court. For the first time in American history, four women will be seated on the Supreme Court and Jackson will be the first-ever Black woman on the court in its 233 year history. Cory Booker, a Democrat senator from New Jersey, released a statement on the importance of her nomination following Jackson’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. “As Judge Jackson ascends to the United States Supreme Court, I see in her the affirmation of our ancestors who suffered the indignities of this country yet sacrificed to bend the moral arc of our nation towards justice,” Booker said. “They knew America, though haunted by its past failings, was not bound by them and believed that a day like this would eventually arrive.” Although Jackson’s nomination is historic, her path to being a Supreme Court Justice is similar in many ways. For one, Jackson had a number of qualifications such as graduating from Harvard Law School, being a Supreme Court clerk and being a federal appeals judge. However, her experience as a district court judge and a public defender puts her apart from most of the current standing Supreme Court Judges. Jackson will be the first Judge to serve with experience as a public defender and one with significant work as a criminal defense attorney since Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black man on the Supreme Court. Similar to Marshall, Jackson received skepticism and antagonists during her confirmation hearings.

With questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jackson was asked multiple questions on race, including the critical race theory and the history of slavery. Further questioning included views on abortion, court-packing and her role as a public defender, which she has also been criticized about. With her historic confirmation to the Supreme Court at the White House, Jackson reflected on her ascension there. “‘I am the dream and the hope of a slave,’” Jackson, quoting Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise,” said. “It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. But we have made it. We have made it, all of us.” Jackson has witnessed the firsthand experiences of African Americans in America, with her parents being taught in segregated primary schools and studying at historically Black universities. According to a 2017 lecture, Jackson found her love of law while she watched her father do his law school homework as an elementary school girl. Jackson is to serve after Justice Stephen Breyer retires for the summer recess, which lands typically from late June to early June.