When Supreme Court docket Justice Stephen Breyer introduced he was stepping down, the strain was on for President Joe Biden to appoint the primary Black lady to the best court docket within the U.S.
However Ketanji Brown Jackson broke the mould of Supreme Court docket jurist in additional methods than one: When she was confirmed by the Senate in April 2022, she additionally became the first public defender to ascend to the court docket in a technology.
She joined the court docket’s all-female liberal wing, who’re outnumbered within the court docket’s 6-3 conservative majority. However she instantly garnered consideration for her surgically precise questioning of conservative attorneys. Within the first eight arguments the court docket heard, Jackson spoke 11,003 phrases, greater than double that of Elena Kagan or Sonia Sotomayor, according to the Empirical SCOTUS blog.
For the left, Jackson grew to become an emblem of cautious hope at a time when belief within the Supreme Court docket is at traditionally low ranges, especially among Democrats. Most memorably, she drew praise from court observers for citing the congressional report to Alabama Solicitor Normal Edmund LaCour Jr., who urged the court docket in Merrill v. Milligan to undertake a race-blind studying of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
She made her views abundantly clear — unusually so on a court docket the place justices sometimes reserve their speechifying for his or her written opinions.
“I don’t assume we will assume that simply because race is taken into consideration that that essentially creates an equal safety drawback,” Jackson stated on the time.
“The framers themselves adopted the equal safety clause, the 14th Modification, the fifteenth Modification, in a race-conscious means,” she stated, including that the “total level” of the 14th Modification was “to safe rights of the freed former slaves.”
She reprised the function of avid questioner in instances coping with affirmative motion in schooling, LGBTQ civil rights vs. business owners’ rights, and scholar debt aid — all instances the place the legislation would have a deep impression on Individuals’ day by day lives.