Black federal judge asks Biden not to choose Ketanji Brown Jackson for SCOTUS

  • A retired federal judge has asked President Joe Biden not to consider Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for SCOTUS.
  • In a letter obtained by NBC News, Judge UW Clemon questioned Jackson’s commitment to workplace justice.
  • Clemon pointed to a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 5,500 Black Lockheed Martin employees.

Alabama’s first black federal judge has sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to disregard a leading contender for the US Supreme Court, NBC News reported Friday.

UW Clemon — a former state legislator who served as a federal judge in Alabama from 1980 to 2009 — asked the president not to consider Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson for the vacancy that will be filled when Justice Stephen Breyer departs later this year. Jackson, who has been a frontrunner for the seat, currently sits on federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.

In his letterClemon said there were “several exceptionally qualified black female contenders for the Supreme Court,” but expressed a desire to see Jackson out of the running for the nomination.

The retired judge cited Ross v. Lockheed, a class action lawsuit filed in 2016 on behalf of 5,500 Black Lockheed Martin employees, as the basis for its opposition to Jackson’s potential appointment.

Jackson presided over the case, and Clemon said in the letter that the judge did not approve the settlement reached, which was to distribute $22 million to the employees.

“She declined to approve the settlement because, in her view, there were no common factual issues,” Clemon wrote.

He continued: “Judge Jackson gave the ax to a settlement designed to benefit black workers at one of the nation’s largest employers, denied injunction accepted by Lockheed Martin that would have addressed root cause of racial bias systems that could have been a model for a nation hungry for racial equity solutions; denied black workers the right to seek evidence to prove their claim of company-wide racial discrimination and knowingly frustrated the right black workers to appeal his decision.”

Clemon provided an additional disclaimer meant to bolster his view of Jackson’s potential influence on the court.

“Each of these considerations, on their own, are wake-up calls that if Justice Jackson is appointed to the Supreme Court, simple justice and equality in the workplace will be sacrificed,” said he wrote.

The White House in a statement pushed back against Jackson’s characterization in the letter.

“It was because of Judge Jackson’s experience in roles at all levels of the justice system, her character and her legal genius that President Biden appointed her to the DC Circuit Court, after which she earned his third Senate confirmation, and he is very proud of that decision,” Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement to NBC News.

When Breyer announced last month that he would step down from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term after 28 years on the bench, Biden reaffirmed his 2020 campaign promise to nominate the first black woman to the body.

Some of the other leading candidates to replace Breyer would include a California Supreme Court justice Leondra KrugerU.S. District Judges J. Michelle Childs of South Carolina and Leslie Abrams Gardner of Georgia.

The president previously said he would name his pick by the end of February.

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