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A Spotlight on Ketanji Brown Jackson
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Justice Jackson Takes Originalist Approach on Voting Rights

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson invoked the original meaning of the US Constitution in her first days of Supreme Court arguments, suggesting that she’s willing to engage with a constitutional doctrine traditionally associated with conservatives.

Threats to Pack Supreme Court Won’t Go Away: Jonathan Bernstein

Senator Mike Lee, the Utah Republican, used his question time Wednesday in the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to lay out a case against court-packing. Never mind that this is a question for Congress, not for Jackson. The problem was that the historical example Lee used actually supports court-packing.

Supreme Court Diversity Isn’t a New Goal: Stephen L. Carter

In the wake of Justice Stephen Breyer’s rumored retirement, an odd controversy has swirled around President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to appoint a Black woman to the first vacancy. Critics have compared the promise to college admission quotas; supporters have pointed out that President Ronald Reagan fulfilled his own campaign vow to appoint the first female justice when he nominated Sandra Day O’Connor.

Ketanji Jackson Is Right Choice for Supreme Court: Noah Feldman

On a day when the world’s eyes are rightly focused on a brazen challenge to the post-Cold War international order, Americans can rightly celebrate a domestic change that should make us proud: the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black female justice of the Supreme Court.

Biden High Court Pick Was Obvious and Smart: Jonathan Bernstein

The Senate Judiciary Committee is acting quickly on the Supreme Court nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s choice to replace Justice Stephen Breyer. It will hold hearings beginning on March 21, which should put her on track for a final Senate vote in April, some two months after she was selected.

Insights

The Supreme Court Confirmation Process Needs Switching Up

The U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process has become a “messy” spectacle without leading to a better understanding of the nominee, contends Tyler Cooper, senior researcher at Fix the Court. He proposes reversing the process, with senators submitting written questions for the record before the public hearings.

Judge Jackson’s Public Defender Past Is a Strength, Not a Weakness

Two former public defenders, professors Vida B. Johnson of Georgetown University Law Center and Robin Walker Sterling of Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, discuss the importance of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s background as a former federal public defender. They say defenders have a duty to represent the clients they’re appointed by the court, but this affords them a unique perspective on the justice system.

Judging While Black, Judging While Female

Bennett Capers, professor of law and executive director of the Center on Race, Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, discusses whether having the first Black woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court would necessarily affect the court’s decisions. He hopes Jackson will bring her different life experiences and perspectives to the role.

It’s Time for a Black Woman on the Supreme Court

A Black female U.S. Supreme Court justice would have an identity never shared by anyone else on the bench, says Megan D. Byrne, director of the Racial Justice Project at the Center for Appellate Litigation. Perhaps most significant, Jackson is from a community that has borne the brunt of hundreds of years of decisions made largely by people who do not share or understand her identity.

Featured Items

Jackson’s Supreme Court Confirmation: Cases You Need to Know

Republicans looking for fodder to question Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings will rely on her more than 500 rulings as a federal trial court judge since 2013 and two from her brief tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Five Ways Republicans Will Take On Supreme Court Nominee Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s toughest questioning during Senate hearings this week will be from Republicans seeking to score political points by implying the Supreme Court nominee is soft on crime while pledging to avoid a repeat of past contentious hearings.

Jackson Rulings in Favor of Business May Stem Pro-Union Critics

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson has issued relatively few rulings on business matters while serving as a federal judge. The opinions she did release showed a tendency to support organized labor, but also a willingness to rule in favor of corporations.

GOP Dark Money Criticisms in Supreme Court Fight Mirror Democrats

Republicans’ criticism of the role “dark money” groups have played in supporting Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination allows them to attack the process, not the nominee. The approach may prove appealing for Republicans sensitive about how to oppose the first Black woman picked for the high court.

Sentencing-Commission Years Prepped Jackson for High-Court Job

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s work on the U.S. Sentencing Commission gave her experience working with members of different ideologies to reach consensus on hot-button issues. That experience will help her if she’s confirmed to the high court, according to lawyers with commission experience and scholars who’ve studied the organization.

Who to Watch as Biden’s Court Nominee Meets With Senators

Ketanji Brown Jackson is meeting Wednesday with top senators in both parties to begin discussions that will help determine whether she’s in for an easy or an arduous confirmation to be the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Listen In

Jackson Defends Her Defense Work in Senate Hearings (Podcast)

We pull Bloomberg Law reporter Jordan Rubin out of the Jackson hearings and talk to him about how they’ve been going so far, why Republicans are choosing the lines of attack they are, and whether there’s anything the GOP can do to stop Judge Jackson from becoming Justice Jackson.

Jackson Hearings Set, Wider Impact of EPA Case (Podcast)

Bloomberg Law’s “Cases and Controversies” podcast recaps the latest on the Jackson nomination and looks into what, if anything, Republicans can do to stop it. Guest host David Schultz also examines this week’s oral argument in West Virginia v. EPA, in which the justices appeared less hostile than expected to the executive branch’s attempts to tackle climate change.

Go Deeper

Crime Focus at Jackson Hearing Most Intense Since Marshall

Cultural and political dynamics collided with Ketanji Brown Jackson’s professional background, creating a perfect storm for crime to emerge as the dominant theme of confirmation hearings for the first Black female Supreme Court nominee.

What Senate’s 50-50 Split Means for Biden Court Pick: QuickTake

Evenly divided between the two major parties, the U.S. Senate has operated for more than a year under a power-sharing arrangement that gives Democrats a leg up (thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote) but makes Republicans more than a silent minority. That’s the backdrop as the Senate weighs whether to confirm President Joe Biden’s choice for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Nominee Judicial Experience: By the Numbers

U.S. Supreme Court justices aren’t required to have experience on the bench or even be lawyers. We take a look at how the judicial experience of Ketanji Brown Jackson, Leondra Kruger, and Michelle Childs—all prominently mentioned as potential candidates to replace Stephen Breyer—compare with the last 14 confirmed justices.