I was pretty sure Biden would pick the least qualified-- and most conservative-- woman from his Supreme Court short list, Michelle Childs. She's was being pushed by conservative hacks-- like Lindsey Graham, Joe Manchin and Jim Clyburn-- but Biden went for the person on his list most likely to make a significant and positive impact on American jurisprudence, the brilliant federal appeals court judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Jackson was born in DC, grew up in Miami and graduated from Harvard and Harvard Law. She served as a public defender. I wonder if a SCOTUS justice ever has before. I have to admit I'm even more relieved than surprised.
Reporting for the NY Times this morning, Katie Rogers wrote that "While her confirmation would not change the court’s ideological balance-- conservatives appointed by Republicans would retain their 6-3 majority-- it would achieve another first: all three justices appointed by Democratic presidents would be women... She has also been twice confirmed by the Senate, including last year, when three Republicans voted yes in a 53-to-44 vote to approve her elevation to the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a traditional proving ground for potential justices. The three Republicans who voted to confirm her-- and who will be under pressure from Democrats to do so again in the evenly divided Senate-- were Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska."
Her most notable decisions on the district court included blocking the Trump administration’s attempts to fast-track deportations, cut short grants for teen pregnancy prevention and shield a former White House counsel from testifying before Congress about President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation.
“Presidents are not kings,” she wrote in 2019, issuing a ruling that Donald McGahn II, the former White House counsel, had to obey a congressional subpoena seeking his testimony about Trump’s actions. “They do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control.”
As Biden was weighing his options from a short list of other candidates, Judge Jackson emerged as a front-runner among advisers who saw her as a logical choice, in part because she had already won Republican support for her confirmation to the appeals court. Merrick Garland, Biden’s attorney general, whose own Supreme Court nomination by President Barack Obama was thwarted by Republicans in 2016, was formerly the chief judge of the appeals court and it was his decision to leave the bench to serve in Mr. Biden’s cabinet that opened the seat Judge Jackson filled.
...Last year, when a Republican senator asked during the confirmation process whether she had been concerned that her work as a public defender could put violent criminals back on the streets, she argued that having such a background was an asset.
“Having lawyers who can set aside their own personal beliefs about their client’s alleged behavior or their client’s propensity to commit crimes benefits all persons in the United States,” she said in a written response, “because it incentivizes the government to investigate accusations thoroughly and to protect the rights of the accused during the criminal justice process.”
...She is related by marriage to Paul Ryan, the former House speaker and Republican vice-presidential candidate. (Dr. Jackson’s husband is the twin brother of Ryan’s brother-in-law.) At her 2012 confirmation hearing, Ryan testified in her support.
“Our politics may differ, but my praise for Ketanji’s intellect, for her character, for her integrity, it is unequivocal,” Ryan said. “She is an amazing person, and I favorably recommend your consideration.”
A member of the House Judiciary Committee and Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Courts, Mondaire Jones told his constituents moments after the news broke that "Ketanji Brown Jackson is an intellectual heavyweight and highly regarded jurist who has dedicated her life and career to the service of others. I applaud President Biden for making history with this nomination, as well as for making the perfect choice, and I look forward to the Senate’s timely consideration of Judge Jackson. As the far-right supermajority on the Court works to subvert our democracy and unravel fundamental freedoms like a woman’s right to choose, Judge Jackson will be a powerful champion for justice, equality, and the rule of law. A former public defender with a brilliant intellect and track record of public service, Judge Jackson is eminently qualified to serve on the Court and will bring an important perspective and voice to the bench."
He noted that he remains "clear-eyed about the continuing threat the far-right, 6-3 majority on the Court poses to our democracy and fundamental freedoms. While Judge Jackson will bring a much-needed voice to the bench, her nomination will not change the balance of power on the Court. The only way to restore integrity to the Supreme Court is to expand it. Congress must do exactly that, before it’s too late."