President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the federal appeals court to the Supreme Court last week. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman justice, and local Black women in politics are celebrating the historic choice.
The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, co-chaired by local Rep. Robin Kelly (D-2nd), said Jackson’s nomination was “one choice among a wide pool of strong candidates” and that they “are confident that Judge Jackson’s qualifications, character and experience make her uniquely fit to serve as our country’s next Supreme Court justice.”
“Namely, Judge Jackson’s experience serving in the federal court system, expertise in criminal justice reform, and history of bi-partisan support make her well suited to sit on the bench,” they wrote. “Additionally, her record presiding over hundreds of cases and working on behalf of the country’s most vulnerable populations will be crucial to upholding the constitutional duties of the highest court.”
The bloc pointed out the centuries of discrimination that Black women have faced in the legal field: today, Black women make up only 3% of the federal judiciary. Jackson’s nomination would be “a giant step in the right direction and will help to create a fairer, more equitable democracy,” they wrote,” acknowledging the work left to do.
State Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-3rd) said she thought Jackson was the most qualified out of Biden's short list, noting that she has already cleared the Senate twice for her positions on the federal district and appeals courts.
"She has already been vetted a couple of times," Hunter said. "If those guys don't confirm her, then it's going to be a whole other story."
"The Supreme Court has existed for over 233 years. There have been 115 vetted sitting justices, and only five of those have been women, and only three of those have been people of color. And none of those 115 sitting justices have been a Black woman. And so now we have an opportunity for a Black woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that really, really excites me to the furthest extent."