US Supreme Court Justice Jackson, entering her first term, says her appointment inspires pride in Americans

  • Major race cases loom for first black woman in US court
  • Biden attends Jackson’s swearing-in ceremony in court
  • Only one of the judges to have worked as a court-appointed lawyer

Sept 30 (Reuters) – Liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said on Friday her nomination as the first black woman to serve on the court had inspired pride in Americans she had met.

She is hearing arguments for the first time as the Supreme Court opens its new term on Monday and the conservative-dominated judicial body has shown a growing willingness to wield its power over a range of issues.

Jackson did not discuss the court‘s ideological split in remarks to the Library of Congress on Friday after his official inauguration, instead focusing on how historically marginalized communities benefit from his appointment to the High Court.

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“People from all walks of life approach me with what I can only describe as a deep sense of pride. And what feels like renewed ownership. I can see it in their eyes,” Jackson said. “They look at me as if to say, ‘Look at what we’ve done…this is what we can achieve if we put our minds to it’.”

Jackson and his eight new colleagues will review a list of significant cases over the next nine months.

These involve race-conscious admissions policies used by colleges and universities to foster student diversity, voting rights, environmental regulations, LGBT and religious rights, the power of federal agencies — and even a dispute over Andy Warhol’s paintings.

“Given the evolution of the case, there is no indication that this will be a silent warrant for Judge Jackson to join,” said law professor Allison Orr Larsen of the College of William & Mary in Virginia.

The court has a 6-3 conservative majority, with Jackson joining a liberal bloc that has been relegated to issuing strong dissents in the most important decisions. For example, the court’s conservative majority issued back-to-back rulings in June, reversing its 1973 precedent that legalized abortion nationwide and expanded gun rights by declaring that the U.S. Constitution protects the right to kill. an individual to carry a handgun in public for his own account. defense.

A Reuters/Ipsos survey conducted after those rulings showed a majority of Americans had an unfavorable view of the court.

Jackson’s two fellow liberal justices, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, in public appearances this summer raised concerns that the court was playing with its hard-earned legitimacy with the public by appearing political.

“I don’t think those kinds of concerns will be enough to persuade five of the right-wing justices in many of these cases not to just use their raw power to achieve the ends they seek,” the professor said. Boston University School of Law. said Jonathan Feingold.


President Joe Biden, a Democrat, nominated Jackson to succeed retired liberal Justice Stephen Breyer. The Senate in April confirmed the federal appeals judge, despite broad opposition among Republicans. Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, called Jackson a “radical left” pick.

“I decide cases from a neutral position. I assess the facts, and interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, in accordance with my judicial oath,” Jackson told the Committee. Senate Judiciary at its March Confirmation Hearing.

Jackson was sworn in to Roberts on Friday in a ceremony attended by Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, fellow justices and retired justices Breyer and Anthony Kennedy. His official swearing-in took place in June.

“Today, for the first time, Americans will see a black woman sit on our nation’s highest court. This is a proud day for America, for our democracy, and especially for women and women black,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary. journalists.

The first month of the new term includes arguments in cases that present conservative justices with opportunities to limit the scope of a major environmental law, cripple the protections of an important civil rights law against racial discrimination in voting and to end the affirmative action admissions policies used by colleges and universities to increase their numbers of black and Hispanic students.

The affirmative action litigation involves challenges to policies used by Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. Jackson, who earned undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard and served on its board of supervisors, has pulled out of the Harvard case but is expected to participate in the North Carolina case.

While liberal justices may simply play the role of dissenters in some cases, Jackson could help shape some decisions, especially when his expertise is put forward. His perspective on criminal justice issues is informed by his past service as both a trial judge and a public defender – work that none of the other sitting judges have ever done. Jackson also served on a commission to review sentencing guidelines for the federal judiciary.

“These are all issues that I suspect Judge Jackson would care about,” Larsen said.

Jackson joins the court amid a Roberts-ordered investigation into the May leak of a draft abortion ruling, a disclosure he called a betrayal.

“It’s not a wound that’s going to heal quickly. The reality is that she’s coming into a court that endured a particularly difficult circumstance in the run,” said Megan Wold, a former legal assistant to Alito now at the firm. of Cooper & Kirk lawyers.

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Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Additional reporting by Andrew Chung in New York and Jeff Mason in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone, Will Dunham and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Nathalie Raymond

Thomson Reuters

Nate Raymond reports on federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at [email protected]

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