A Fresh Perspective: The Confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson


Shae Garofalo '25, Writer

Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first black female ever to have the honor, based on her years of legal experience, to be confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.   She is the newest Supreme Court Justice confirmed on a 53-47 vote. Her nomination came after the announcement of Stephen G Breyer’s retirement and she was officially confirmed on April 7. She swung the vote by pulling three Republican senators, which was a notable win against the Republican attempts to paint her as a liberal extremist soft on crime.  Supreme Court Justice Jackson grew up in Miami and went to Harvard College and later Harvard Law. She also worked as a clerk for Judge Breyer for a bit in the year she graduated. 

Supreme Court Justice Brown Jackson is the first black woman to serve as justice and will be providing a new perspective on the council with her experience as a public defender, the only Justice to have ever been one. It is thought by many that she would provide a whole new outlook to many cases and that she has the potential to shape the outcomes of Supreme Court cases for years to come. The hottest point of debate right now is if it is even a good thing to be shaking up the court so much, or if Jackson’s experiences will even make an impact on a court overpowered by six republican appointees.  

Judge Brown Jackson’s confirmation was an inspiring occasion for many across the nation, including those on her high-school debate team. Brown Jackson credits the team for helping her develop the skills she needed to succeed in her chosen career path, stating, “That was an experience that I can say without hesitation was the one activity that best prepared me for future success in law and life.” The confirmation also uplifted the women of the Harvard Black Law Students Association, of which Jackson was a part during her time at Harvard. A fellow alumn of hers, Brianna Banks, said in an article for the New York Times, “By the numbers, we have a lot of Supreme Court justices from Harvard Law School. And I am one of the few students that knew that could never be me, no matter what, because there had never been one that looked like me before. So it brought up this emotion because people tell you, you come from Harvard Law School, you can do whatever you want, and there’s no job that isn’t open to you. But for Black women, that’s not always true, because there are a lot of spaces or jobs that we still have not occupied.” 

Judge Brown Jackson’s confirmation has made a considerable impact on those around her and those who look up to her.  The question remains as to if she will be able to do the same in court. Her confirmation has indeed put the court closer to President Biden’s goal, one of making it look more like the America that we actually are. Yet it is questionable that with a 6-3 conservative majority Brown Jackson will have the ability to make an impact on the court’s upcoming cases. Her confirmation has proved one thing, however, which is that filling a Supreme Court vacancy is surely dependent upon which party is controlling both the White House and the Senate. But who knows? Maybe Judge Brown Jackson will be able to sway her conservative peers on certain issues facing the court in future years. I’ll sure be watching to find out.