President Joe Biden will nominate federal judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who’s set to retire, making her the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court, the Washington Post reports.
In the 233-year history of the high court, Jackson becomes just the third African American to receive a nomination.
As EBONY previously reported, Jackson was considered the frontrunner as Biden narrowed down his selection to three final candidates. The other two leading candidates were J. Michelle Childs, a federal judge in South Carolina, and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court.
Born in Washington, D.C., Jackson grew up in Miami in a family where her parents were public school teachers. She earned her undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, where she met her future husband Patrick Jackson, a surgeon.
Previously, she was a law clerk for Breyer in 1999, and she helped shape federal sentencing policy in the U.S. Sentencing Commission after stints at private law firms.
A former public defender, she served as a trial court judge in Washington for eight years before Biden tapped her for U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
During her confirmation to the D.C. Circuit Court last spring, Jackson was supported by Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Mitt Romney (Utah), and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), in a 53-to-44 vote.
“I know very well what my obligations are, what my duties are, not to rule with partisan advantage in mind, not to tailor or craft my decisions in order to try to gain influence or do anything of the sort,” Jackson told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“It doesn’t make a difference whether or not the argument is coming from a death row inmate or the president of the United States,” she added. “I’m not injecting my personal views.”
On the campaign trail in 2020, Biden first pledged to nominate a Black woman U.S. Supreme Court justice. During a debate in South Carolina, Biden stated that he wanted to make “sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court” in an effort to “get everyone represented.
Jackson would join the liberal wing of a conservative-dominated court that will oversee high-profile cases such as ending affirmative action in college admission, cutbacks to abortion rights, and restricting voting rights efforts to increase minority representation.