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High History and Low Politics at Day One of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Confirmation Hearing - The New Yorker


A confirmation hearing on Monday for Ketanji Brown Jackson—the fifty-one-year-old federal judge whom President Biden nominated, last month, to replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer—began with a history lesson. A hundred and fifteen Justices have served on the Supreme Court since its first meeting, in 1790, Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat of Illinois and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in his opening statement. A hundred and eight of these appointees have been white men, with only two men of color and just one woman of color. “Not a single Justice has been a Black woman,” Durbin added. Addressing the nominee, Durbin went on: “You, Judge Jackson, can be the first.” Durbin reviewed Jackson’s impressive résumé: high-school debate champion; Harvard undergraduate; Harvard Law School graduate; clerk for three federal judges; public defender; lawyer in private practice; vice-chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which Congress created in 1984 to reduce sentencing disparities in the federal courts; federal district judge; and, since 2021, member of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, often referred to as the second-highest court in the country. In the course of Judge Jackson’s career, the Senate Judiciary Committee had examined her record no fewer than four times, Durbin pointed out, and, just a year ago, it confirmed her to the Court of Appeals.
The New Yorker     Mar 22, 2022