Ketanji Brown Jackson enters the Supreme Court, the first black woman in this case

Ketanji Brown Jackson enters the Supreme Court, the first black woman in this case

She replaces progressive judge Stephen Breyer, who is retiring at the age of 83 and comes at a pivotal moment: under the impetus of his majority conservative judges, the Court has taken a sharp turn to the right, solidifying the right to bear armsin pulverizing the one at the abortion and depriving the executive of means of action in favor of the climate. Developments made possible by the very right-wing choices of Donald Trump during the previous term.

Alongside the poorest defendants

Ketanji Brown Jackson hopes to help repair the Court’s damaged image. During her congressional hearing in April, she embraced her role as a “role model” for “little girls across the country” and hoped her confirmation would increase African Americans’ “confidence” in the justice system.

But she especially insisted on another of her differences. While most of her colleagues have distinguished themselves as prosecutors, Ketanji Brown Jackson has worked on the side of the accused: for two years she was a lawyer in the legal aid services in Washington, where she defended defendants without resources. .

During her hearing, she explained that she was struck by their lack of knowledge of the law and that, once she became a judge, she took “great care” to explain her decisions to the convicts, so that they understood the seriousness of their acts and the penalty imposed. .

She also has intimate experience with the penal system: in 1989, an uncle of hers was sentenced to life in prison under a law that automatically imposed that sentence after three drug rule violations. Although she knew him little, “this family experience made her aware of the impact of the law on people’s lives”, told the washington post a friend, on condition of anonymity.

Born after the end of the great racist laws

Ketanji Brown Jackson had a stable childhood in a family of teachers living in Florida. Out of “pride in their heritage” and “hope for the future,” her parents gave her an African name, Ketanji Onyika, meaning “the charming one,” she told Congress.

Unlike them, who “experienced segregation personally”, she pointed to her “luckyness” to be born after the great civil rights struggles of the 1960s which brought down many racist laws.

She was able to attend schools with pupils of diverse ethnic origins – where she notably distinguished herself in eloquence competitions -, obtain a diploma from the prestigious Harvard University and lead a rich career, while founding a family with a white surgeon.

As soon as she finished her studies, she practiced in the temple of American law, as an assistant to Judge Stephen Breyer. She then alternated experiences in the private sector -within law firms- and the public, notably at the Sentencing Commission, an independent agency responsible for harmonizing criminal policy in the United States.*

Relentless against Donald Trump

Then it was in 2013 that she took a new step: Democratic President Barack Obama appointed her a federal judge in Washington. Over the next eight years, she rendered dozens of decisions. In particular, she denies donald trumpwho is trying to prevent Congress from summoning one of his advisers, writing: “Presidents are not kings”.

As soon as she arrived at the White House, Joe Biden appointed her to the influential Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, considered a springboard for the Supreme Court. Logically, he chooses her in February to replace Judge Breyer who, at 83, has decided to retire.

On several occasions, the president praises his “extraordinary qualifications”, his “extensive experience”, his “intellect”, and his “rigorous record as a judge”. During his hearing, however, several elected Republicans accused him of having given too light sentences to child pornographers, echoing their denunciation of a supposedly “lax” Joe Biden.

Emphasizing her “impartiality”, she defends her decisions and refuses to be drawn into their ideological battles. During her previous confirmation process, she had already sworn to keep aside, in her work as a judge, “her personal opinions and any other inappropriate consideration”, including her skin color. But “I may have a different life experience from that of my colleagues,” she added. “And I hope it can be of interest.”

See also on the HuffPost: Justice Jackson on the verge of tears after her appointment to the Supreme Court

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