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Black legal professionals react to SCOTUS nomination of Jackson

If confirmed, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson would be the first Black woman to ever hold a seat on the US Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON — On Friday, President Joe Biden made judicial history by nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.

A Black woman has never held a seat on the Supreme Court before.

The president said Jackson, a current D.C. Circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, strives to be fair and is committed to justice.

“The United States of America is the greatest beacon of hope the world has ever known,” Jackson said.

Jackson, who was born in Washington, D.C. but raised in Miami, Florida, also made mention of Judge Constance Baker Motley, during a prepared speech in the White House Friday.

Motley was the first African-American woman to be appointed as a federal judge.

“I proudly stand on Judge Motley’s shoulders, sharing not only her birthday, but also her steadfast and courageous equipment to equal justice under law,” Jackson said.

Norma Brown Hutcheson, who serves as the Chair of D.C.’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability and past president of the Washington chapter of the Women Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association, a network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges, said Jackson’s nomination is an “enormous” moment in judicial and American history.

“This is way overdue,” she said.

Hutcheson said it is important for the Supreme Court to be a diverse institution when it comes to the perspectives of its judges.

“And, I think what her work has shown us is that she will bring a different perspective to the court,” Hutcheson said. “And, that benefits all of us as Americans.”

Hutcheson added she believes Jackson’s nomination will also inspire other Black women in the legal profession.

“It says to us, ‘look, the world's your oyster’,” she said. “And, all of us don't get that message. You need to see it in front of you somewhere. If you don't get it at home, if you don't get it from your teachers, your college professors, if you don't get it at work, you now see someone else who represents opportunity.”

The National Bar Association also applauded Jackson's nomination in a statement.

"The signing of the Civil Rights Act. The March on Washington. The Million Man March. Barack Obama winning the 2008 Presidential Election. There are some events in Black History that stand out from the rest. Today is one of those days," the statement reads. "Americans, Black Americans in particular, will never forget where they were and what they were doing when they found out a Black woman had been nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States."

Jackson said she would like to become an inspiration to the American public too.

“I can only hope that my life and career, my love of this country and the constitution, and my commitment to upholding the rule of law and the sacred principals on which this great country was founded will inspire future generations of Americans,” she said.

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