Ketanji Brown Jackson is Nominated to Become First Black Woman on Supreme Court

On Thursday night, President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.

After pledging to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court, President Joe Biden has made his choice. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson — who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — received a call from President Biden on Thursday night and accepted his Supreme Court offer, according to CNN.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Jackson also worked as a public defender. She’d become the first justice with experience as a defense lawyer since the late Thurgood Marshall, the first Black justice on the Supreme Court.

No African-American woman has ever been nominated to the Supreme Court. Since 1789, the highest court in the land has only featured two African-American men (Clarence Thomas and Marshall).

Current Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement last month. Soon thereafter, Biden tweeted that he was committed to selecting a Black woman to take Breyer’s place. As a presidential candidate, Biden vowed to pick a Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.

“The person I nominate to replace Justice Breyer will be someone with extraordinary qualifications. Character, experience, and integrity. And they will be the first Black woman nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” Biden wrote.

A shortlist of other Black women considered to succeed Breyer included California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger; South Carolina US District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs; Minnesota District Judge Wilhelmina “Mimi” Wright; New York Circuit Judge Eunice Lee; Circuit Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi;  and Civil Rights Attorney Sherrilyn Ifill.

According to CNBC, Jackson previously clerked for Breyer during the Supreme Court’s 1999-2000 term. Jackson was also selected to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a 53-44 vote.


Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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