Ketanji Brown Jackson: The Most Important Credentials are of Ketanji Brown Jackson
Her gender and race are the focus of spotlight, but Jackson’s professional expertise is the one you should be focusing on.
Today tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings regarding nominating Judiciary Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court. Her nomination will fulfill a campaign promise given by the president Joe Biden to name the first Black woman to the top court. But it’s due to Jackson’s expertise in the field and her judicial skills and not because of her race or genderand that she is due for swift confirmation.
Jackson’s legal qualifications are evident. She is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School where she worked as Editor of the legal review. Jackson has worked as an attorney for corporations and as an official of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Her nearly a decade-long tenure as a federal judge and, more recently, on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has resulted in over 600 meticulously considered and reasoned decisions that fall within the mainstream of the law.
Jackson is also a diverse member of the court through ways that transcend gender or race. She’s not only the first ex-public defense attorney to be a member of the Supreme Court, she’d be the first justice since Thurgood Marshall with a criminal defense background. This background sets her apart not only from other judges of the highest court, but also the federal judiciary as in general. The Cato Institute points out that the currently sitting bench is heavily weighted towards former prosecutor. In time this imbalance could affect the fairness of courts towards those who are defendants.
The experience has given Jackson the ability to comprehend issues that the legal system faces. For example she has been a critic of “coercive plea bargaining,” the practice of urging the defendants (many with limited resources); to plead guilty instead of enduring lengthy trials that could lead to being sentenced! to a longer term prison term as a demeaning result of underfunded and overburdened courts. As an official of the federal public defender system, Brown represented plenty of undesirable clients, including terrorist suspects. As a result, she defended the foundational principle in the U.S. justice system: the right to an effective defense. In the same way she’s been recognized for her work by both police organizations like the Fraternal Order of Police; the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which speaks highly of her track record in keeping a equilibrium.
In her replacement for the retired Justice Stephen Breyer (for whom she was a clerk), Jackson won’t alter the current conservative 6-3 majority, which could mean the hearings will be less controversial than previous confirmation battles. It’s nevertheless appropriate for senators from both parties to consider what Jackson’s rulings from the past influence her decisions on matters in front of the Court.