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The Supreme Court’s Newest Justice

Raphael Englander


Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is officially the newest member of the United States Supreme Court. The first black woman to serve on the highest court in the land, Justice Jackson more than deserved the honor, considering her stellar resume and professional track record.

Born in September of 1970, Jackson grew up in Miami, Florida, graduating from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 1978. She obtained both her Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude) and Juris Doctor (cum laude) from Harvard University. While an undergraduate, Jackson led protests against a fellow student who was flying a confederate flag from his dormitory window, demonstrating a commitment to justice that carries through to her work today.

Throughout the early part of her career, Jackson clerked for judge Patti Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, judge Bruce Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, whose seat on the court she is filling. Jackson later worked as an assistant federal public defender in Washington D.C., winning cases against the U.S. government that reduced, or sometimes canceled, extended prison sentences. She is “the first former federal public defender on the high court and the first justice since Thurgood Marshall with extensive criminal defense experience,” says the Washington Post.

President Obama nominated Jackson to serve as a district judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2012. During her time as a district court judge, Jackson ruled on a number of significant cases, including American Meat Institute v. U.S. Department of Agriculture (2013) and Pierce v. District of Columbia (2015), in which she allowed for regulations to be placed on the meat industry and defended the rights of a deaf inmate of the D.C. Department of Corrections, respectively.

In 2021, President Biden nominated Jackson to serve as a circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, a possible sign of his later nomination of Jackson for the Supreme Court who, after confirmation hearings where Jackson demonstrated her intelligence and poise in the face of intense questioning from the Republican, was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice on June 30th, 2022. She voted on her first case on July 21st; many more votes in an already illustrious career are sure to follow.


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