What Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson means for the country
In a 53-47 vote, the U.S. Senate completed the ascent of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the country’s highest court. Allegations of being soft on crime and flexible on child pornography offenders are in his rearview. Jackson was the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court and the first judge to be a former federal public defender. Of course, Jackson’s height does nothing to change the ideological balance of the court, but his presence would represent a tectonic change for the Supreme Court in other ways.
The first thing to keep an eye on is his dissent.
Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said: “Disputes are very important because they are a reminder to the public and the courts that there is an alternative approach.” “They are sometimes posting guidelines for future decisions.”
Taken together, Jackson’s background as the first black woman and first former public defender to sit on the Supreme Court mean she will come up with a new approach to judicial opinion and some legal experts suggest it could help her influence her peers.
Melissa Redman, a law professor at the University of Georgia, said the defense attorney’s lens could help rearrange the way other judges view certain cases, in particular, she said, in criminal cases where there are legal disputes over illegal investigations and detentions, protection against self-defense. The crime and other rights of the accused come into question.
“Generally, in criminal cases, you’re talking about the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Amendment rights, the 14th Amendment rights,” Redmon said. With Jackson, “You have someone who is intimately acquainted with it.”
Even if he does not influence the final rulings of the court, Jackson may express his views on dissent, which may have had a greater impact on the future or other branches.
Graves points to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who told the New Republic in 2014: And sometimes one has to insist on how wrong the court decision is. “
When Ginsberg disagreed with Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 2007, where Lily Ledbetter accused her employer Goodyear of paying her less because of her gender, Ginsberg wrote in a minority opinion that it was up to lawmakers to change. The injustice of gender pay inequality. By 2009, Congress had passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and it was the first bill that former President Barack Obama signed into law.
Verna L. Williams, dean of the law school at the University of Cincinnati, added that Supreme Court dissent could also provide clues as to how the plaintiff could argue under a similar lawsuit. “Sometimes in disagreements, you can take a nugget,” said Williams, who served as chief counsel and successfully completed the Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education established in 1999 that in some cases school boards could be blamed for failing to intervene in sexual harassment of students.
Jackson will be joined by Liberal Justice Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, both of whom are notable for their dissent. Williams worries that some of their identities may dismiss.” Their voices are likely to become extra marginalized because they may be minority girls, liberals,” she stated
For the first time, the entire liberal wing of the bench will consist of women, two of whom are women of color.
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But the experts I spoke to also suggested that Jackson’s views would have a significant impact not only as of the first and only black woman on the court but also as one of two black judges working for the first time at the same time.
In his three decades on the court, Justice Clarence Thomas, the longest-serving current judge, has become not only a reliable conservative vote but an icon for many Republicans for his views on race.
when Jackson joins him, Graves says: “It approaches there might be more than one perspective around blackness in court docket.”
Although legal experts believe that Jackson could have a significant impact on the courts, even in the minority, it is less clear whether his confirmation will be enough to save the Democratic Party’s ruling majority this fall.
In January, at a White House ceremony announcing the retirement of Stephen Brayer from the bench after 28 years, President Joe Biden reiterated his promise to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court if given the chance. “It’s long overdue, in my view,” he said. The promise was made because his 2020 presidential campaign was free and needed a jolt. Some political analysts see parallels between his presidency and the current moment, with approvals approaching 40 percent in most national elections, and there are concerns that Democrats could lose the House and Senate by the middle of this year.
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There are questions as to whether this campaign promise will be enough to point to a party that has been shortlisted in big-ticket agenda items, such as the democratic base, especially black voters, who are reforming the police and protecting new federal voting rights.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be comforting to know that there is a [Justice] Jackson in the Supreme Court. But black communities are not stupid, “said Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter.” It’s not something that black voters will feel in their pockets or see directly in their communities. And that’s what really drives people to the polls, “said Garza, who is now taking Black to the Future Fund, aimed at empowering blacks in politics.
For Republicans, Jackson’s confirmation could add to the GOP momentum in the midst of this fall. Paris Denard, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said: “I think for Republican voters, they will look into it and remind us of the election results.”