On Feb. 25, President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former public defender and current federal appeals judge in Washington, D.C., to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
Jackson, 51, had served as one of Breyer’s law clerks during the 1999-2000 term.
If confirmed, Jackson will be the first black woman ever to sit on the Supreme Court, fulfilling a promise Biden made during the 2020 presidential campaign ahead of the South Carolina primary to further diversify the high court.
“For too long, our government and our courts haven’t looked like America,” Biden said while formally announcing Jackson’s nomination at the White House.
Biden’s selection sets in motion what is likely to be a polarized confirmation process in the 50-50 Senate.
Jackson has been a federal judge for nine years and was appointed last year by Biden to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. During her confirmation hearings last spring, Jackson faced a barrage of questions from Senate Republicans, of whom only three voted in her favor.
Jackson’s addition to the Supreme Court would not fundamentally shift its 6-3 conservative majority balance. But if she proves to be ideologically to the left of Breyer, it could reshape the three-member liberal minority and alter the court in more subtle ways.
Among those praising her nomination was the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s most powerful LGBTQ advocacy group, as well as abortion-rights groups.
Kevin Roberts, president of the conservative public policy think tank Heritage Foundation, alluded to as much in his reaction to Biden’s choice.
“There are few decisions more important for a president than the selection of a Supreme Court nominee,” he posted to Twitter. “In this Biden has utterly failed, starting with his criteria for making this appointment. Judges should play a limited role in our government, yet Jackson’s far-left supporters want her to impose a political agenda that invents new rights or erases rights she doesn’t like. Based on the information we already know, senators should reject her for this lifetime appointment.”
The pro-life organization March for Life also opposed Biden’s nomination of Jackson for the U.S. Supreme Court based on her “record of judicial activism.”
“We expect her to be a reliable vote for the far left and the Biden administration’s radical abortion agenda,” the organization wrote.
In 2001, Jackson co-authored a “friend of the court” brief in the case of McGuire v. Reilly, in which she supported a Massachusetts law that created a floating “buffer zone” around pedestrians and cars approaching abortion clinics. Jackson’s clients included the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters, the Abortion Access Project of Massachusetts and NARAL Pro-Choice America. Later, NARAL and the pro-abortion National Women’s Law Center strongly supported her nomination to the D.C. Circuit.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List, said in a press release: “Joe Biden is fulfilling his promise to only appoint justices who support the Roe v. Wade regime of abortion on demand up to birth—a policy so extreme only a handful of countries in the world hold it, including North Korea and China. Ketanji Brown Jackson is backed by many of America’s most radical pro-abortion groups. She is on record opposing the free speech rights of pro-life advocates pleading to save lives outside abortion centers and supporting the false claim that abortion is ‘health care.’ We have no doubt she will work with the most pro-abortion administration in history to enshrine abortion on demand nationwide in the law.”
Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Pool via CNP/dpa/Alamy Live News