SWINDLE COLUMN: Historic nomination to SCOTUS

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Recently, Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Jackson to the Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.

Senate Democrat leaders hope to have a vote confirming Jackson to the court by mid-April.

Jackson, 51, currently sits on DC’s federal appellate court and had been considered the front-runner for the vacancy since Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement.

She also previously clerked for Breyer and served as a federal public defender in Washington – an experience that is extremely valuable. The vast majority of judges are former prosecutors.

“I must begin these very brief remarks by thanking God for delivering me to this point in my professional journey. My life has been blessed beyond measure and I do know that one can only come this far by faith,” Jackson said.

The choice of Jackson will not change the ideological makeup of the court. The court currently has six conservative justices and three liberal justices. The retiring Breyer and Jackson are both liberals. 

Although I disagree with her political and judicial philosophy, Jackson has an impressive background, including her rise from federal public defender to federal appellate judge. Jackson was born in the nation’s capital but grew up in the Miami area. She was a member of the debate team at Miami Palmetto Senior High School before earning both her undergraduate degree and law degree at Harvard.

In Miami, she learned many of life’s most important lessons as a daughter of two school teachers and administrators.

Eyes will now turn to the Senate, where the Democrat Party holds the thinnest possible majority. Biden will hope that Jackson can garner bipartisan support. But Democrats will need all their members to ensure her confirmation.

Democrats do not need Republican help to confirm a Supreme Court justice and can do it with their 50 votes and the vice president breaking a deadlock. She will probably be confirmed along party lines with a couple of Republicans supporting her.    As a side note, Former House Seaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, is a relative by marriage and introduced Jackson at the 2013 hearing for her district court nomination. Ryan also congratulated Jackson on her SCOTUS nomination.

“Janna and I are incredibly happy for Ketanji and her entire family. Our politics may differ, but my praise for Ketanji’s intellect, for her character, and for her integrity, is unequivocal,” Ryan said.