SERAAJ: Biden Honors Pledge With Nomination of Ketanji Jackson to U.S. Supreme Court

This s a photo of Kevin Seraaj, journalist and publisher of the Orlando Advocate
Kevin Seraaj, publisher, Orlando Advocate
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by Kevin Seraaj, Publisher, Orlando Advocate

Almost immediately after sitting Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer announced his retirement, administration supporters began calling on President Biden to fulfill his campaign promise to appoint a black woman to the high court, and “sources close to the Congressional Black Caucus” told Politico that Ketanji Brown Jackson was viewed at the time as “a favorite.”

Still, there were other qualified candidates: Leslie Abrams Gardner, a federal district court judge in Georgia appointed to the bench by President Obama in 2014; Julianna Michelle Childs, a district court judge in South Carolina also appointed by Obama, and nominated in late December by President Biden for a spot on the D.C. Circuit; and Leondra Kruger, an associate justice on the California Supreme Court since 2015, who served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel.

Biden’s selection of Jackson over the other possible candidates was smart– even given their prodigious qualifications. At first blush, Childs may have seemed like the better choice, since she had support from two political heavyweights– Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). But the major issue with any nomination is, of course, confirmability. And leaving confirmation to the vote of one Republican (Graham) would not have been politically savvy.

In today’s political climate of legislated voter suppression and GOP push back on all things black, getting a black woman on the Supreme Court will certainly face opposition– however irrational it might be, given Jackson’s stellar qualifications. And for all the accolades Biden received for his nomination, a failure to confirm the first black woman nominee could be disastrous come Election 2024.

Jackson was confirmed just last June to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals– which is the second-most important court in the country– and supporting her were three Republican senators: Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). How likely is it that within the span of less than a year all three GOP members will suddenly disavow her qualifications for the bench?

In addition to being imminently qualified, Jackson is simply the logical choice to face the upcoming confirmation hearings, which will no doubt highlight her personal activism. She’s entitled to be black. And it’s time for a black woman to sit on the high court. As noted in an article written by BlackPressUSA contributor Lauren Victoria Burke, “in over two centuries, 114 justices have served on the Supreme Court and 108 of them have been white men.”

With this move, the president has put to good use his decades-long experience in Congressional politics, and all but guaranteed that we will soon have the first black woman– Ketanji Brown Jackson– permanently ensconced on the Supreme Court of the United States.