When Was Ketanji Brown Jackson Born
Ketanji Onyika Brown was born on September 14, 1970, in Washington, D.C. Her parents, Johnny and Ellery Brown,wanted to honor their ancestry and asked a relative serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa for a list of African names for their daughter. The name they selected, Ketanji Onyika,means“lovely one.”
Ketanji Brown Jackson: Who Is She Bio Facts Background And Political Views
The Washington, D.C., native replaced Attorney General Merrick Garland on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
U.S. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson poses for a portrait on Feb. 18, 2022, in her office at the court in Washington, D.C. | Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
02/25/2022 09:01 AM EST
President Joe Biden is planning to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, according to two sources familiar with the decision.
Jackson, 51, has been viewed for months as a top contender and fits the bill that Biden and left-leaning activists have sought in the aftermath of Republicans successful attempt to pull the judiciary to the right under former President Donald Trump.
Her name has long been floated as a potential Supreme Court justice, particularly after she was tapped to fill the seat left by now-Attorney General Merrick Garland on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, generally considered the second-most important court in the U.S.
The Federal Nomination Process
Federal judges are nominated by the president of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. There are multiple steps to the process:
- The president nominates an individual for a judicial seat.
- The nominee fills out a questionnaire and is reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing with the nominee, questioning them about things like their judicial philosophy, past rulings or opinions, etc.
- As part of this process, the committee sends a blue slip to senators from the home state in which the judicial nomination was received, allowing them to express their approval or disapproval of the nominee.
- After the hearing, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to approve or return the nominee.
- If approved, the nominee is voted on by the full Senate.
- If the Committee votes to return the nominee to the president, the president has the opportunity to re-nominate the individual.
- The Senate holds a vote on the candidate.
- If the Senate confirms the nomination, the nominee receives a commission to serve a lifelong position as a federal judge.
- If the Senate does not confirm the nomination, that nominee does not become a judge.
August 2019: Unions file for rehearing en banc before full D.C. Circuit
May 2018: Unions file suit against civil service executive orders, claim orders are unconstitutional and violate federal statute
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Judge Ketanji Brown Jacksons Weird Resume Stymies Criticism And Support
Just looking at the top half of new federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jacksons resume, its clear she has the pedigree of a Supreme Court justice contender.
It lists Harvard University undergrad, Harvard Law School, the Harvard Law Review, and clerkships with three federal judges, including retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer.
But then, it stalls. For the next dozen years, she became a self-described vagabond, even toiling as a public defender, until then-President Barack Obama plucked her from obscurity for a district court judgeship.
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said she handled 585 rulings, but little stands out. President Joe Biden elevated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit less than a year ago, but shes written just two decisions.
Now, as White House and Senate aides pour over her record to figure out her philosophical and political leanings to ready for her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, they have far less to review than typical court picks whove quickly moved up the judicial ladder.
And thats becoming a problem for her supporters, who want to champion Jackson beyond just being the first black woman headed to the Supreme Court, and critics, who want something to sink their teeth into.
Others Noted Her Potential To Be On The Supreme Court
Jackson has been open about the hurdles she faced as a mother and a Black woman in law, most notably in a 2017 speech she gave at the University of Georgia School of Law. It was during that speech that Jackson shared a letter her daughter Leila wrote to Obama in 2016 at the age of 11, recommending her mother to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Her mother, Leila wrote, is determined, honest and never breaks a promise to anyone, even if there are other things shed rather do. She can demonstrate commitment, and is loyal and never brags.
To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Stohr
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Shed Be The First Justice To Be A Former Public Defender
Jackson combines a powerful resume with the potential to fill long-standing gaps at the Supreme Court. Shed bring an unusual set of professional experiences, including becoming the first justice to have served as a public defender.
Before turning all her attention to being a federal judge in 2013, she served on the Sentencing Commission, a panel that works to end disparities in criminal punishment. She had also spent some time in private practice in criminal and civil litigation at Morrison & Foerster LLP, and prior to that in the appeals division of the Office of the Federal Public Defender in D.C.
A Federal District Judgeship
In September 2012, Obama nominated Jackson to serve as a U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C. Although the Senate held hearings in December, it did not act on her nomination before the 112th Congress adjourned at the beginning of January. Obama nominated Jackson again on Jan. 4, 2013, and the Senate confirmed her by a voice vote in March.
Official portrait of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
In April 2018, Jackson ruled against the Trump administration in a lawsuit brought by federal employee unions challenging three of the presidents executive orders on the collective bargaining rights of federal workers. The unions argued that the orders exceeded the presidents powers and conflicted with both federal labor laws and the employees constitutional rights.
In a 62-page opinion, Jackson ruled for the challengers. She agreed with them both that she had the power to review their claims and that Trumps directives undermine federal employees right to bargain collectively as protected by federal law.
The D.C. Circuit reversed Jacksons holding that she had the power to review the unions claims. The unions, Judge Thomas Griffith reasoned, must first pursue their challenge through an administrative agency process and then, if necessary, in the courts of appeals.
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Why A Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Will Make A Difference
President Biden has just announced Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer. In 2022, 160 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, we are on the verge of having our first Black female Associate Justice. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is extraordinarily accomplished and should be on any presidents list of highly qualified, exemplary High Court candidates, not because of her gender or race but because of her resume and her qualifications.
Judge Brown Jackson currently serves as a judge on the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. This follows her eight years of experience as a trial court judge in the U.S. District Court in D.C, years of work in private practice, and 15 years as a public defender. She graduated from Harvard Law School where she served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review, clerked for three judges , and was Vice Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. As is befitting of a U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brown Jackson has issued notable rulings in a substantively and legalistically broad range of cases.
Federal Clerkships And Us Sentencing Commission
In the years after she earned her law degree, Jackson completed three prestigious federal clerkships : for Judge Patti Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts for Judge Bruce Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and, after a one-year stint as an attorney, for Justice Stephen Breyer.
Following her clerkships, Jackson alternated between jobs with private law firms and public-service positions with the federal government. She worked for the United States Sentencing Commission, an independent agency that studies and establishes sentencing guidelines for the federal judiciary, from 2003 to 2005 and as a federal public defender in Washington, D.C., from 2005 to 2007. In 2010 she returned to the Sentencing Commission as a commissioner and the commissions vice chair, an appointment that required and received confirmation by the U.S. Senate. In that role Jackson and her fellow commissioners made retroactive the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which had reduced the disparity in sentences for crimes involving crack cocaine and crimes involving powder cocaine. The commissioners action made it possible for defendants who had been convicted under the previous legal regime to seek reduced sentences.
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After Another Contentious Confirmation Process She Will Become The First Black Woman And First Former Public Defender On The High Court
Corrected 3:14 p.m. | The Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson on Thursday as the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, the end of a historic nomination process streaked with acrimony even for a justice who will not alter the courts current conservative tilt.
Jackson, who received bipartisan support in a 53-47 vote, will also be the first former public defender to sit on the court. Its a professional background that Democrats said would add a much needed perspective on the high court but Republicans mined to accuse Jackson of being soft on crime.
Jackson will take the seat of Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who plans to retire at the end of the term in June. By then, the 6-3 conservative majority is expected to deliver major rulings on abortion and gun rights that could fuel debate about the high courts legitimacy. On the horizon are cases about election laws and congressional redistricting after the 2020 census.
Senate Democrats remained focused on Jacksons education and track record as a federal judge and repeatedly drove home how she stands at the precipice of history: a first on the Supreme Court like Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black man, or Justice Sandra Day OConnor, the first woman.
About Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
Judge Jackson was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Miami, Florida. Her parents attended segregated primary schools, then attended historically black colleges and universities. Both started their careers as public school teachers and became leaders and administrators in the Miami-Dade Public School System. When Judge Jackson was in preschool, her father attended law school. In a 2017 lecture, Judge Jackson traced her love of the law back to sitting next to her father in their apartment as he tackled his law school homeworkreading cases and preparing for Socratic questioningwhile she undertook her preschool homeworkcoloring books.
Judge Jackson stood out as a high achiever throughout her childhood. She was a speech and debate star who was elected mayor of Palmetto Junior High and student body president of Miami Palmetto Senior High School. But like many Black women, Judge Jackson still faced naysayers. When Judge Jackson told her high school guidance counselor she wanted to attend Harvard, the guidance counselor warned that Judge Jackson should not set her sights so high.
That did not stop Judge Jackson. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, then attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Judge Jackson lives with her husband, Patrick, and their two daughters, in Washington, DC.
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How To Watch Ketanji Brown Jackson Be Sworn In As A Supreme Court Justice
Judge Jackson will take her oaths of office on Thursday after the court issues its final opinions of the current session.
Dan is a writer on CNET’s How-To team. His byline has appeared in Newsweek, NBC News, The New York Times, Architectural Digest, The Daily Mail and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sworn in as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court today at noon ET .
She was confirmed by the Senate in April to replace retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who formally steps down today following the release of the Supreme Court’s final opinions for this session at 10:30 a.m. ET .
Read on to find out how to watch the swearing-in ceremony and learn what Jackson will likely hear as the newest member of the Supreme Court.
United States District Court For The District Of Columbia
- See also: Federal judges nominated by Barack Obama
On September 20, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Jackson to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The U.S. Senate confirmed Jackson by voice vote on March 23, 2013. She received commission on March 26. To read more about the federal nominations process, .
The U.S. Senate confirmed Jackson on March 23, 2013, by voice vote.
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on Jackson’s nomination on December 12, 2012. The committee voted to advance her nomination to the full Senate on February 24, 2013.
President Barack Obama nominated Jackson to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on , to the seat previously held by Henry Kennedy. Jackson’s nomination was returned to the president at the sine die adjournment of the 112th United States Congress on January 3, 2013. President Obama resubmitted Jackson’s nomination on January 4, 2013.
Jackson was rated unanimously qualified for the nomination by the American Bar Association. To read more about ABA ratings, .
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‘well Qualified’ To Serve
She worked as an assistant special counsel there between 2003 and 2005. Obama nominated her to serve as vice chair of the commission in 2009 and she was confirmed with bipartisan support the following year. Breyer is the only current justice with prior experience on the Sentencing Commission, where he served between 1985 and 1989.
And last week, Black students at Jackson’s alma mater, Harvard Law School, told Newsweek that she would better represent them than Thomas, the sole Black justice currently on the court.
Ketanji Brown Jackson: Legal Career Timeline
Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first Black woman voted on to the Supreme Court in its 233-year history. A federal judge, Jackson was nominated to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer who announced his retirement earlier this year.
Jacksons ascension diversifies the courts makeup. She becomes the third person of color among the nine justices and narrows the gender gap, raising the current number of women on the high court to four.
The historic confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jacksonis an essential step toward a more inclusive America that reflects the strength of our diverse nation and recognizes the unique and often overlooked role African American women have played in building and shaping this country, Southern Poverty Law Center President and CEO after Jacksons confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
Jackson was sworn in as the 116th member of the Supreme Court replacing Breyer, who officially retired at noon June 30, 2022.
Here is a brief look at her life and career:
1970 She is born Sept. 14 in Washington, D.C. Parents Johnny and Ellery choose the name Ketanji Onyika meaning Lovely One for their daughter from a list of names sent by a family member who was serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa.
The family moves to Miami, where the Browns serve as school administrators in the Miami-Dade Public School System. She has a younger brother, Ketajh.
1988 Jackson graduates from Miami Palmetto Senior High School, where she is class president and a star debater.
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The Senate Confirmsketanji Brown Jacksonto Serve On The Us Supreme Court
On February 25, 2022, President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the 116th Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
On April 7, 2022, a bipartisan group of Senators confirmed Judge Jackson’s nomination.
Since Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement, President Biden has conducted a rigorous process to identify his replacement. President Biden sought a candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law. And the President sought an individual who is committed to equal justice under the law and who understands the profound impact that the Supreme Courts decisions have on the lives of the American people.
That is why the President nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve as the next Justice on the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson is one of our nations brightest legal minds and has an unusual breadth of experience in our legal system, giving her the perspective to be an exceptional Justice.
The Hon Ketanji Brown Jackson
Supreme Court of the United States
Harvard Law School
Ketanji Brown Jackson has served on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia since March 2013. Until December 2014, she also was also a Vice Chair and Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Prior to serving on the Commission, Judge Jackson worked at Morrison & Foerster LLP, with a practice that focused on criminal and civil appellate litigation in state and federal courts, and served as an assistant federal public defender in the Appeals Division of the Office of the Federal Public Defender in the District of Columbia. Before that, she was an assistant special counsel at the U.S. Sentencing Commission and an associate with two law firms.
Judge Jackson was a law clerk to three federal judges: Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States, Judge Bruce M. Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Elected to the ALI in 2012, she serves on the Members Consultative Group for the Model Penal Code: Sentencing, project.EDUCATION: Harvard University, B.A. Harvard Law School, J.D.
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