Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the 116th justice of the Supreme Court Thursday afternoon by the Senate: the first black woman to serve on America’s highest court.
The vote was split 53-47; All 50 Democrats and 3 Republicans, Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah, voted for confirmation.
Robin Joyce Miller, artist, author, educator, public speaker, and co-host of the Cape Cotuit Center for the Arts “Black Art Matters: Master Artists Tell Our Story” series, He described the confirmation as an “incredible moment in American history.”
Ketanji Brown Jackson:Confirmed by the Senate as the first black woman on the Supreme Court
“This is very important on several levels. But for young black women aspiring to the law, there are absolutely no limitations. Judge KBJ broke the glass ceiling,” Miller said.
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Jeanne Morrison, former deputy general manager for diversity and civil rights at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and current co-vice president of the League of Women Voters Cape CodHe said Brown Jackson’s record simply “speaks for itself.”
“She’s obviously the cream of the crop,” Morrison said. Finally, after 233 years, we appointed a Black woman to the Supreme Court. This is another victory for democracy, especially in these tumultuous times we are in.”
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Morrison, who is a member of the board of the Massachusetts Coalition of Colored Womenthe Cape Cod Branch of the NAACP and the Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory CommissionShe also referred to the importance of the representation of black women, not only on the Supreme Court, but in all positions of power in the United States.
“Any great or strong nation is based on a reflection of its demographics in its legal and legislative bodies,” he said. “If we want to be a strong country, a united country, we need everyone to have a sense of belonging. When we start to be more inclusive, we will start to do more things right.”
John Reed, President of Cape Cod NAACP chapter, said that, in his opinion, Brown Jackson is overqualified for the position. She noted the importance of her varied experience as a lawyer, as she is the first justice in three decades to have spent time as a public defender.
“It’s another feather in our cap,” Reed said. “She is a hotspot for people to seek real justice.”
He applauded Brown Jackson for his performance in his congressional confirmation hearings, which he referred to as “ridiculous at times.”
“It’s one thing to ask intelligent questions, but to sit there and ask a judge what a woman is is just ridiculous to me,” Reed said, referring to Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn calls for Brown Jackson provide a definition for the word “woman”.
“Some of them acted like clowns,” he said.
calm under pressure
Miller also brought up Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings and said she was “surprised” at how well the judge kept her cool under pressure.
“When I first heard about Ketanji Brown Jackson, I was blown away,” he said. “However, after watching the hearings, I knew that she was very smart, experienced and prepared for the position of Supreme Court Justice.”
He also said he felt that some of the lines of questioning, such as that of Senator Blackburn, were an attempt to “game the Trump base” to discredit Brown Jackson.
“They couldn’t get his character, intelligence or experience,” he said. “His credentials are impeccable.”
“It’s obvious that black excellence is a huge part of American society,” Morrison said.
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Morrison said he didn’t watch much of the hearings, in part because of his schedule, but also because he felt they were recalls the 1991 Anita Hill hearings where Hill testified against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas on allegations of sexual harassment.
Reminder of Anita Hill
“It would have been too painful to watch because I felt like it was like what Anita Hill had to go through,” she said. “You know, she had to be on the world stage. Brown Jackson’s record is exceptional because she, as a black woman, she had to be. I think it’s important to recognize now how important this is.”
Morrison noted, however, that despite the “politicking” at the confirmation hearings that she felt was sometimes pointless, at the end of the day Brown Jackson emerged victorious.
“Her strength, character, and academic and legal background persevered and helped her,” Morrison said. “This is the first of many. This is American history, you know, and it should include people of color, women and other groups. Women of color are on the rise.”
Contact Sarah Carlon at firstname.lastname@example.org.