Jackson’s nomination to highest court inspires Redhawks on campus

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Used with permission: phoot by zacklur licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has been nominated by President Biden in replacement of Stephen Breyer and would be the first woman of color and Black woman on the court. “Any decision the supreme court is going to be ruling on is going to impact them in some way shape or form, especially with the court hearing cases about the second amendment and rights to privacy,” AP Government teacher Amanda Peters said. “A lot of the cases they will be hearing and ruling on this year specifically will have a huge impact on young people.”

Confirmation hearings for DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated to replace the retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, came to an end Thursday. Jackson’s nomination is expected to advance out of the Senate Judiciary Committee to the full Senate which will determine whether or not she makes history, and fulfills one of President Biden’s campaign promises.

“Biden has pledged to appoint the first African American Woman to the Supreme Court, a move that is long overdue,” Biden’s campaign said as part of his campaign promises for Black America

Specifically, he vowed to “appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices and federal judges who look like America, are committed to the rule of law, understand the importance of individual civil rights and civil liberties in a democratic society, and respect foundational precedents like Brown vs. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade.”

To some, the appointment of Jackson may be considered controversial. However, many across the country, including President Biden and the American Bar Association, believe her qualifications speak for themselves.

I believe with history, it is always important to remember the “first” of anything, making both of these historical and significant,”

— Cory Cummings

“As you know, the Standing Committee confines its evaluation to the qualities of integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament,” the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary said in their letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The Standing Committee is of the unanimous opinion that Judge Jackson is ‘Well Qualified’ to serve on the United States Supreme Court.”

Republican senators have various concerns about Jackson’s credentials but there’s no questioning the historical significance of her nomination. 

“Ketanji Brown Jackson is not only the first African-American woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court, she is also the first public defender to be nominated as well,” Frisco CTE Center Political Science and Survey of Government teacher Cory Cummings said.

The confirmation hearings have been broadcast live across news platforms, and classes on campus, such as AP Government, have taken time to tune in.

“We’ve been informally watching the hearings and then talking about them in class the next day,” AP Government teacher Amanda Peters said. “I’ve had them on in the background so students have been able to listen in to help them solidify the topics we’ve been talking about, like judicial interpretation and judicial activism.”

Peters not only wants students to understand how the hearings reflect the AP Government course content, but to also grasp how the decisions made in regards to the Supreme Court impact their lives.

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“Any decision the Supreme Court is going to be ruling on is going to impact them in some way shape or form, especially with the court hearing cases about the Second Amendment and rights to privacy,” Peters said. “A lot of the cases they will be hearing and ruling on this year specifically will have a huge impact on young people.”

AP Government student, senior Meera Rajagopal, feels as though the hearings are important to listen to due to the lifetime appointment of a Supreme Court justice. 

“Supreme Court justices are there as long as they’re on good behavior, and there aren’t any regulations on their term lengths due to the Constitution,” Rajagopal said. “It’s important to listen in because these judges are going to decide on laws for a good part of our lives, and we need to understand where their opinions fall on important issues.”

Throughout the confirmation process, prospective Supreme Court justices are questioned by the senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee in order for them to determine whether or not they will vote to confirm the appointment. 

“Two elements often happen during these proceedings: the side that supports the nominee bolsters the judicial integrity and credentials of the nominee while the party of the opposite viewpoint tries to emphasize their flaws,” Cummings said. “In regards to Judge Jackson, her role as a public defender is one of the elements being highlighted, both positively and negatively, on both sides of the aisle.”

Along with its historical significance, Jackson’s nomination also holds much personal importance for many students, such as political science student and Lebanon Trail junior Vasudha Thittai.

As a woman of color, seeing Judge Jackson get appointed gives me hope that experiences that reflect mine will be heard and considered in the court,”

— LTHS junior Vasudha Thittai

“I think having more female representation on the Supreme Court would allow us to get closer to a balance in opinions of those who decide cases in the United States,” Thittai Said.

Cummings also feels as though the varied perspective Jackson brings is an asset to the Supreme Court and the United States as a whole.

As with most things in life, anything that is filled with multiple viewpoints and perspectives strengthens our world,” Cummings said. “It is an honor to see such an accomplished individual, a first of her kind, enter the landscape that will help make our country a ‘More Perfect Union.’ I look forward to the day when I see one of my own students on that same platform.”