Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination serves as inspiration

Alex Brandon | Associated press

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson laughs as she is questioned by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee (Alex Brandon | Associated Press)

While campaigning for the 2020 presidential election, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden promised to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court when given the opportunity. That promise was fulfilled last month when President Biden announced Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as his Supreme Court nominee.

When I saw the CNN notification pop up on my phone that Biden had nominated Jackson to court, a smile immediately spread across my face. I smiled knowing that not only had Biden kept his promise, but that a black woman could be on the Supreme Court and make history.

NIU Law School Dean Cassandra Hill expressed her thoughts and emotions when she first heard about Jackson’s nomination.

“Immediately, I was overwhelmed with excitement and sheer joy to learn that the first black woman, Ketanji Brown Jackson, would be nominated,” Hill said. “It was a historic and phenomenal moment.”

I hope that with his confirmation in court, years from now, young black girls and aspiring black lawyers can research who served on the Supreme Court and see Jackson’s name come up. They could look at his name and know they can do it too; that it is possible.

His nomination will bring hope to the American public, especially the black community, and inspire others to be leaders and trailblazers in any career, not just law.

Being an English student, I never thought a Supreme Court nomination would mean so much to me.

Before the confirmation of charges hearings started, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew there would be times when senators would try to question Jackson’s decisions, cases, and integrity. I also knew the world would be watching to see how Jackson would answer these questions and if she would explode and then be called an “angry black woman.”

Hill said she knows Jackson’s historic nomination will bring three things: perspective, inclusion and representation.

“As a woman of color, she will bring a unique perspective to the court and an ability to view legal issues through a lens of diversity and equity,” Hill said. “A different perspective will allow for better overall decision-making and opinion-forming.”

Hill said she believes Judge Jackson, as a former public defender who gave voice to vulnerable members of marginalized communities, will also ensure inclusion on the court. Hill acknowledges the appointment shows the power of representation and hopes it will help build trust in the institution for younger generations.

Jackson’s nomination is a step forward for justice in the black community and will hopefully bring change to the community because now our voices and struggles will be heard.

“Judge Jackson will be the first black woman to serve on our nation’s highest court and we’re all going to make sure she’s not the last,” Hill said.