Students React to Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Confirmation to the Supreme Court


Megan Snyder

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson “is going to create pathways and invoke change,” junior Allie Ball said.

On Thursday, April 7, the Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman Supreme Court Associate Justice. 

When Jackson joins the Court this October, she will be one of four female and two Black justices. 

After the 53-to-47 vote, the Senate erupted in a standing ovation for the new addition to the Supreme Court. Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman in her position, presided over the vote, as Biden and Jackson watched from the White House.

Jackson’s nomination by Joe Biden to be the next Associate Justice occurred on Feb. 25, following the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer. “We’re going to look back and see this as a moment of real change in American history,” Biden said in his remarks. 

Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Miami, Florida. Her father attended law school, which contributed to Jackson’s love for the law. Jackson attended Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude, and later went to Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude. 

I’m pleased to nominate Judge Jackson, who will bring extraordinary qualifications, deep experience and intellect, and a rigorous judicial record to the Court,” Biden said. Previously, Jackson has worked as a public defender and in private practice, served on the United States Sentencing Commission, and was tenured as a federal judge. 

“Judge, you are the very definition of what we Irish refer to as dignity,” Biden said during the confirmation ceremony on the south lawn. “You have enormous dignity. And it communicates to people. It’s contagious. And it matters. It matters a lot.”

“For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America,” Biden said. “And I believe it’s time that we have a Court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications and that we inspire all young people to believe that they can one day serve their country at the highest level.” 

In agreement with Biden, “I think that it is extremely important because our highest positions of government should reflect the American people,” junior Allie Ball said surrounding Jackson’s confirmation. “The Supreme Court makes decisions that affect everyday people and it is vital that these decisions are being made by people that look like us. This is the highest court in the land and showing diversity and representation is beneficial not just for the people but for America as a country.”

This is why during his presidential campaign, Biden made the promise that if given the opportunity, he would make sure his Supreme Court nomination would be a Black woman.

“It certainly was a historical confirmation as the first African-American woman to sit on the court, which I think is a good thing,” senior Santiago Nolasco Galicia said. “She seems like a well-qualified candidate and seems to have a good background as a Court of Appeals judge.”

Out of the 115 justices in the Supreme Court’s history, all but seven justices have been white men. Until now, a Black woman has never been nominated. 

Jackson’s nomination has also given Biden and Democrats the chance to claim a political victory after the previous three associate justices appointed were Republicans nominated by former President Trump. 

For the first time in Supreme Court history, four out of nine justices will be women, and the majority of the justices will not be limited to white men

“I think for America and the government, it is a wake-up call that African American women are qualified for positions that have historically been dominated by white males,” Ball said. “It also just goes to show that we can make it in any field or career despite people doubting our ability to do so.”