By J1 Reporter Meghan Bartness
Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first black woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court. While this is a big step for the country, she is also a monumental figure for the young women of Marian. Freshman Elizabeth Nguyen says, “Yes I do feel more represented, the Supreme Court was not diverse.” Nguyen said she believes it has taken so long for her to even be considered because “people still haven’t gotten used to seeing a black woman in power.” Nguyen talks about how Judge Jackson can bring change to Marian by showing girls that women of color can do things that are predominantly done by white men. “She can bring change, and being a minority and a woman shows other women that they can do things men have done for years as minorities themselves.” Nguyen said Judge Jackson can bring change to America’s court system, “Just being a Black woman and using her experiences and now being a Supreme Court judge.”
Education: Judge Jackson is one of the only three sitting justices who went to a public high school and the ninth to attend an Ivy League school. She attended Harvard University for her bachelor’s degree and Harvard Law School for her law degree.
Supreme Court Clerk: Law clerks act as assistants and counselors to judges. They conduct legal research, prepare memos, as well as draft and proofread orders and opinions. She will be the eighth out of the nine justices to have been a Supreme Court clerk.
Public Defender: Jackson will be the first justice with experience as a federal public defender along with significant experience as a criminal defense attorney on behalf of poor defendants. As reported by the Washington Post on March 20, Alicia Bannon, director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Judiciary Program says, “Having to navigate the criminal justice system on behalf of poor defendants gives a judge an important perspective on how the criminal justice system operates and on the potential unfairness or hurdles within it.” Federal judges with experience as public defenders are less represented on federal and state courts, due to the favor shown to those who have corporate experience.
Sentencing commission: Jackson is the only justice on the Supreme Court with experience in the U.S. Sentencing Commission. “Jackson’s public defense and Sentencing Commission experiences are going to be critical because they speak to her awareness of the other side of the criminal justice system,” said professor Steve Vladeck at the University of Texas School of Law in the Washington Post’s background story.
Federal Judge: Jackson, along with all current sitting justices except for Judge Kagan, has served as a federal judge before being nominated to the Supreme Court. However, Jackson spent almost nine years as a federal district and appeals court judge, which is significantly longer than the rest of the justices. “Ketanji Brown Jackson brings more experience as a judge than four of the current justices combined at the time they joined the court,” Vladeck said in the Washington Post.