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Tipsheet

Biden Nominates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

President Joe Biden issued remarks from the White House on Friday with his nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Jackson currently serves in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit, as Katie covered. Jackson, 51, will be the first black woman to hold the position if confirmed. If confirmed, there will be four women sitting on the Supreme Court.

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Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris formally introduced Jackson, who Biden described as “a proven consensus builder.” Jackson’s nomination comes after Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement announcement last month. Breyer is 83-years-old and served on the Court for 28 years. 

“I promised the process would be rigorous, that I would select a nominee worthy of Justice Breyer’s legacy of excellence and decency. Someone extremely qualified,” Biden said. He then pointed out that he’s someone who has “presided over more Supreme Court nominations than almost anyone living today.” 

He said that during the process of picking a nominee, he believed the Supreme Court needed “someone with extraordinary character, who would bring to the Supreme Court an independent mind, uncompromising integrity, and a strong moral compass with the courage to stand up for what she thinks is right."

“For too long, our government, our courts, haven’t looked like America. I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects our full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications," he added.

Biden said that Jackson has already been confirmed by the United States Senate three times, to serve on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, to serve on the federal district court, and to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals. Jackson’s father, who became a lawyer when Jackson was a child, inspired her career path.

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“I am truly humbled by the extraordinary honor of this nomination, and I am especially grateful for the care that you [Biden] have taken in discharging your constitutional duty in service of our democracy with all that is going on in the world today,” Jackson said when she took the podium. 

“My life has been blessed beyond measure,” Jackson said in her remarks. “Among my many blessings, and indeed, the very first, is the fact that I was born in this great country. The United States of America is the greatest beacon of hope and democracy the world has ever known.”

Jackson pointed out that she has an uncle who got “caught up” in the drug trade and received a life sentence, which she confirmed is true. She then said her brother and uncles have served in law enforcement for years.

Jackson highlighted Justice Breyer as being a strong influence on her career path as a lawyer.

“Justice Breyer, in particular, not only gave me the greatest job that any young lawyer could ever hope to have, but he also exemplified everyday and every way that a Supreme Court justice can perform at the highest level of skill and integrity while also being guided by civility, grace, pragmatism, and generosity of spirit,” she said. She added that although the Senate could have her “fill [his] seat,” she said she could never “fill [his] shoes.” 

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Jackson’s biography released by the White House shows that she served in Justice Breyer’s chambers as a law clerk after graduating from Harvard Law School. There, she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Jackson then served as a public defender from 2005 to 2007. If confirmed, the White House notes, she would become the first former federal public defender on the Supreme Court.

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