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REPORTS: President Biden to nominate DC Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

Supreme Court

UPDATE 10:19ET:President Biden has confirmed this breaking news via his official Facebook account

This morning, multiple reports have confirmed that President Biden will announce that he has nominated DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. Breyer notified the president in a letter on January 27 that he would be retiring from active service on the bench at the end of the current term in late June or early July. His letter stated that his retirement at that time is contingent on a new Justice being nominated and confirmed by that time.

DC Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (Attribution: Wikimedia Commons)
DC Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (Attribution: Wikimedia Commons)

President Biden promised during the presidential campaign to nominate the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. In fact, today’s announcement comes one year to the day that he made the promise, during a Democratic debate.

Judge Jackson, 51, is a former federal public defender and would be the first person since Justice Thurgood Marshall, who retired in 1991, to have experience representing criminal defendants in court. She served on the federal district court in Washington DC for eight years before being confirmed to the DC Circuit in June 2021. Having already faced two Senate confirmations for judgeships, Judge Jackson may have an easier time being confirmed to a third judicial post.

Jackson also served as vice chairperson of the US Sentencing Commission, which reviews federal judicial sentences and develops sentencing policy with the goal of reducing disparities in criminal sentences and making them more uniform. The Senate also voted on her confirmation to that role. NPR has highlighted her personal experiences that have informed her approach to these issues, writing that her “uncle is a former Miami police chief; another was a sex crimes detective; and her younger brother was a Baltimore police undercover agent,” and also noting that “her family also has had experience with the scourge of drugs. Her father’s older brother was sentenced to life in prison under a federal three-strikes law aimed at repeat drug offenders.”

She clerked for Justice Breyer during the 1999-2000 term, according to SCOTUSBlog, at a time when the Court was hearing cases on late-term abortions and speech issues involving LGBTQ people. As a district court judge, they wrote, she issued several rulings against the Trump administration, including one in which she ruled that former White House counsel Don McGahn was required to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee. She wrote in that case that “Presidents are not kings” and they work for the people. Alliance for Justice’s fact sheet on her history highlights some other important cases she decided, as well as her work in two prominent law firms.

She also clerked for Judge Patti B. Saris, a federal district court judge in Massachusetts appointed by President Clinton, and Judge Bruce M. Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, appointed by President Reagan.

The nomination of a Black woman to the highest court in the country is important not just for the historical moment – Jackson would only be the third Black Justice on the Court and the sixth woman – but also because of the Court’s and the legal establishment’s past practices regarding Black women. In 2016, Mother Jones published a piece which pointed out that since 1999, fewer than six Black women had even argued cases in front of the Court. This year, the New York Times wrote that women themselves, even before breaking the statistics down by race, only make up a small amount of lawyers arguing before the Court.

In addition, a National Law Journal study in 2017 highlighted the lack of diversity among Supreme Court clerks. Women only make up about one “one-third of the clerk posts yearly,” but “the Supreme Court issues no demographic information for clerks. Blacks, Hispanics and Asians are further behind, the study found.”

Given these statistics, having a Black woman on the Court will add a previously underappreciated point of view to the Justices’ deliberations and decisions.

The members of the Senate Judiciary will now hold one-on-one meetings with Judge Jackson and schedule a vote on whether to allow the nomination to proceed to the floor of the Senate. After the nomination goes to the floor, the full Senate will vote.

The Senate is currently split 50-50 between the two major parties. Democrats are expected to have at least 50 votes plus Vice President Harris’ vote, so there’s no major drama expected with the nomination and confirmation.

6 Comments

  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  February 25, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    FDA authorizes first ever condom made specifically for anal intercourse

    The move by the FDA is seen as a victory for sexual health by experts and can especially be important for the LGBT community.

    Sexual health advocates considered this an unmet public health need since unprotected anal intercourse carries the greatest risk of HIV transmission via sexual exposure, with one study finding that 69 percent of men who have sex with men would use condoms more frequently if they were FDA-indicated.

    It is estimated that around six percent of American men have sex with other men – generally anal – and many heterosexual couples take part in anal sex as well.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-105448

  • 2. VIRick  |  February 25, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    Yucatán Congress to Vote on Marriage Equality on Tuesday, 1 March 2022

    Per Cindy Aparicio:

    Después de meses de atraso, se aprobaron por unanimidad en la Comisión de Justicia y Seguridad Publica las modificaciones a las leyes secundarias (es decir, al Código de Familia y a la Ley del Registro Civil de Yucatán) sobre matrimonio y concubinato igualitario, y este martes el 1 de marzo 2022, se votarán y en su caso, aprobarán en el pleno del Congreso de Yucatán para que sea una realidad en Yucatán.
    https://twitter.com/Cindy_Aparicio
    https://www.rompecabeza.mx/index.php/politica/ite

    After months of delay, the modifications to the secondary laws (that is, to the Family Code and to the Civil Registry Law of Yucatán) concerning marriage and cohabitation equality were unanimously approved in the Justice and Public Security Committee, and this Tuesday, 1 March 2022, will be voted upon and, presumably, will be approved by the full Yucatán Congress in order that it become a reality in Yucatán.

  • 3. VIRick  |  February 25, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    Tijuana, Baja California: Trans Man Receives Corrected Birth Certificate under New Law

    Per Regina Cornejo Manzo, Titular de la Oficina de Diversidad e Inclusión del Ayuntamiento de Tijuana (Tijuana City Hall, Head of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion):

    En esta Tijuana para todos, hoy el 21 de febrero 2022, se llevó a cabo la rectificación de datos en el acta de nacimiento del primer hombre trans en aprovechar la nueva realidad legislativa.
    https://twitter.com/manzo_cornejo

    In this Tijuana for all, today, 21 February 2022, the correction of birth certificate data was carried out for the first trans man to take advantage of the new legislative reality.

    To be clear, from early 2019, by governmental decree, Baja California began recognizing self-perceived gender identity, and as a result, has been making the necessary administrative corrections on birth certificates for the past 3 years. The instance cited here is the first such to have been completed in Tijuana since the newly-passed law went into effect, expediting the entire process.

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 25, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    Venezuela: Marriage Equality Proposal Presented in National Assembly

    Per Orgullo LGBTI Venezuela y El Acarigueño:

    Este jueves, el 24 de febrero 2022, la diputada Vanessa Robertazzo del Partido Cambiemos presentó ante la Comisión de Desarrollo Social de la Asamblea Nacional la propuesta para el matrimonio civil igualitario en Venezuela.
    https://twitter.com/OrgulloLGBTIVE/status/1497390
    https://elacarigueno.com/ini/diputada-plantea-ini

    On Thursday, 24 February 2022, Deputy Vanessa Robertazzo of the Cambiemos Party presented before the Social Development Committee of the National Assembly the proposal for civil marriage equality in Venezuela.

  • 5. VIRick  |  February 27, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    Kharkiv, Ukraine's Second-Largest City, Just 25 Miles from Russia

    Although predominately Russian-speaking, eight years of war between the separatists and Ukraine’s government forces just a few hours southeast of Kharkiv in the Donbas region changed sentiment here to back the Ukrainian side. Kharkiv’s history, and its sources of splits and strength, runs much deeper.

    Kharkiv was founded in 1654, and the city’s university life became a center of the Ukrainian national movement in the 1820s, said Timothy Snyder, a history professor at Yale University. Kharkiv later was chosen as the new Soviet republic of Ukraine’s first capital from 1920 to 1934. In the 1920s “it was the world center for Ukrainian culture,” Snyder said. Soviet leaders initially supported the city’s development of art and literature, only for this “generation of Ukrainian makers of culture” to die during the purges of the 1930s, he said.

    Further death loomed during Ukraine’s Great Famine of 1932 to 1933, a man-made calamity known as the Holodomor, caused by Soviet agriculture and redistribution policies. Kharkiv became “the city where peasants went to die” as the starving gathered in the city to beg for money, according to Snyder. Shortly after the onset of WWII, in the Katyn massacre of April-May 1940, the Soviets executed the entire Polish officer class and other intelligentsia captured during their invasion of Poland. Katyn is the name of the forest outside Kharkiv where the victims were buried.

    During World War II, as in many Soviet cities, local authorities in Kharkiv collaborated with German Nazis. From December 1941 to January 1942, thousands of Jews in Kharkiv were shot to death or gassed to death in vans.

    On Sunday, 27 February 2022, with residents hunkered down in bunkers and in the underground subway, roads were empty. An eerie, uncertain quiet once more prevailed.
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/why-kharkiv-

  • 6. VIRick  |  February 27, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine

    Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy is a Ukrainian statesman and a former actor and comedian who has been serving as the president of Ukraine since 2019. He gained worldwide recognition as the wartime leader of Ukraine during the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has been described as a national hero in Ukraine. He lists his political party affiliation as "Servant of the People," the same name as the TV series in which Zelenskyy previously played the role of President of Ukraine.

    Volodymyr Zelenskyy was born in 1978 to Jewish parents in Kryvyi Rih, the seventh-most-populous city in Ukraine, and its most important steel-making and metallurgy center. The city is located in a predominately Russian-speaking area of south-central Ukraine. Zelenskyy's great-grandfather and his great-grandfather's three brothers were all murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volodymyr_Zelenskyy

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