Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson


Katie Tanner, Contributor

In June of 2020, during a campaign press conference, Biden announced his desire to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court, if the opportunity presented itself during his presidency. At the time, the comment was met with polarized reactions, with some glad he was prioritizing a historically underrepresented group, and some using the remark as evidence against affirmative action.

President Joe Biden announced on February 25, 2022 that he had appointed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, replacing Justice Stephen Breyer. Jackson, appointed to be the court’s 116th Associate Justice, is the first Black woman appointed to the court. 

Recently, Jackson has undergone rigorous questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee, from the likes of Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz, both of whom (along with their fellow Republican senators) have aimed scathing critiques at her. Senator Graham inflicted Jackson with a line of questioning about her personal religious beliefs, including how faithful she is and to what denomination she subscribes. There are a variety of reasons why this line of questioning is wrong, the most glaring of which is the fact that the Constitution clearly states in Article VI, Section 3 that “no religious test shall ever be required” for those working for our Government. 

While many Republican senators have maintained an air of respect throughout the hearings, this does not change the fact that a very vocal minority of their colleagues have insisted upon asking questions that have no business being asked. 

So, why are they so against the appointment of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson? Bob Jones sophomore Carmen Hunderman succinctly states that it’s “Because you have conservative old white men who can’t get over the fact that being a white male no longer qualifies them for everything.” Hunderman is right; a lot of the critiques of Jackson are rooted in sexism and racism, as well as a general dislike of Democrat justices. 

The fact that Jackson happens to be a Democrat has no bearing on her qualifications to serve as a Justice. The role as a Judge or a Supreme Court Justice is to apply the law, not one’s personal beliefs. The Constitution does not change based on the party you are registered with, nor the religion you follow. Based solely on experience, Jackson is more qualified than any other Justice on the Court. This chart, created by The Washington Post for an article about Jackson’s qualifications, proves that. She is far more qualified than Justice Barrett, which is an appointment that was rushed through by Republicans before the 2020 election.

The root of some of the criticism against Jackson is based on the fact that Biden seemingly picked her solely because she is a Black woman. Bob Jones Senior Bakarri Hill agrees with those critiques, stating that, while she seems qualified, “What if there was someone better and they weren’t chosen because they weren’t black?” 

This question is so close to the actual root of the issue. Biden wanted to pick a Black woman, and chose Jackson, because it is this group that is constantly passed over because of skin color. For any position, we can ask, “What if there was someone better qualified. and they weren’t chosen because they weren’t white?”

In the history of the Supreme Court, only two Justices have been African American, with Jackson posed to become the third. Only five Justices have been women, three of which are currently on the bench. The Supreme Court must represent the entire nation, as they make decisions affecting everyone. Believe it or not, the entire nation is not composed of white men. Our nation is meant to be a representative democracy, and it must represent all of its citizens.