SARASOTA, Fla. — This is a historic moment as Senate hearings are underway for the potential first black female Supreme Court justice.
“I think it’s important to all Americans,” said Jade Davis, an attorney at the Shumaker law firm in Sarasota.
Davis said being a black woman serving in the predominantly white male American justice system was difficult.
“We have a lot of hurdles as women and when you layer racing on top of that it becomes even more out of the question,” Davis said.
So, excluding that in its 232-year history, only seven of the United States Supreme Court‘s 115 justices have not been white men.
“Diversity is not only important for the diverse group that is represented, but it’s also so that people can see these individuals in these positions and accept them,” Davis said.
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee began confirmation hearings for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, whom President Biden has chosen to replace retired Justice Stephen Breyer, which would make her the first black woman to serve as a justice. the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a law professor at Stetson University, said the conservative-liberal balance on the court would always remain at 6-3.
“But in the long run it could have a huge impact,” Torres-Spelliscy said.
But some criticized the judge for her past role as a public defender. On Monday, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers released a statement of support saying in part:
“Judge Jackson should not be criticized or humiliated for serving as a federal public defender. Her extensive legal experience makes her even more qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.”
Either way, Davis said more diversity like a black woman on the Supreme Court is what our country needs.
“If a black woman sits on the Supreme Court, that’s a symbol of what America is and should be,” Davis said.
Democrats hope to confirm Jackson before mid-April. She is not expected to be fully sworn in at the High Court until July, once Judge Breyer retires.