Black America Cheers Ketanji Brown Jackson as Senate Confirmation Process Continues By Hazel Trice Edney


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies as her parents, Johnny and Ellery Brown, watch. Her parents, both public school educators, have been married 54 years. Photo by Roy Lewis

Black America Cheers Ketanji Brown Jackson as Senate Confirmation Process Continues 

Democrats Hope for Vote by April 11

By Hazel Trice Edney

( – Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will likely become the first Black woman to sit on the U. S. Supreme Court, faced harsh questions from Republican members of the Senate Judiciary as civil rights leaders and Black community cheered her on with pride. Most applauded the shattering of the glass ceiling that has been in place for the past 235 years without a Black woman on the high court.

“The NCBCP Black Women’s Roundtable is working in coalition with our allies to ensure that this nominee is treated fairly and is confirmed without delay,” said Melanie Campbell, president of the Black Woman’s Roundtable of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “This has been a rigorous process with input from Senators of both parties, legal experts, and civil society. President Biden has chosen an exceptionally well qualified and experienced nominee -someone with the character, integrity, and dedication to the Constitution and rule of law to serve on the nation’s highest court.”

Just as the hearings began Monday, crowds of representatives gathered outside the Supreme Court for an early morning rally in support of Jackson.

The supporting organizations included African American Ministers in Action, Black Women’s Roundtable, National Women’s Law Center, She Will Rise, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Council of Negro Women, Higher Heights, The National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc., Metropolitan Washington, DC Chapter, National Black Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL Women), NAACP, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Black Girl Magic Network, Ms. Foundation for Women, National Education Association, Center for Popular Democracy Action and National Organization for Women.

Black women are also applauding the significance of Jackson’s nomination among other major strides for African-Americans during Women’s History Month. Marc Morial pointed out those strides in one of his recent “To Be Equal” columns.

“This Women’s History Month also has seen the confirmation of the first Black woman to head Office of Management and Budget, Shalanda Young, and the confirmation of Lisa Cook, the first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, is imminent. Beginning with his historic selection of Kamala Harris to serve as Vice President, President Biden has appointed a record number of women – and women of color – to key roles in his administration and nominated more Black women to the federal courts than any president in history,” Morial wrote.

With the final rounds of questions due Wednesday, Democrats have enough votes to confirm Jackson but are hoping for a bipartisan confirmation. Still Republicans tried to throw allegations at Jackson, implying that she was “soft on crime” and even tried to enter the controversial “critical race theory” into the conversation.But the stoic Jackson stayed on task, for example, telling Republican Sen. Ted Cruz critical race theory was not relevant to her work as a judge.

Democratic Sen. Corey Booker, in his own line of questions, made the Republican strategy clear. For example, to their implication that she is “soft on crime”, Booker stressed that Jackson has been endorsed by at least 63 police chiefs and a list of police and law enforcement organizations, including the National Fraternal Order Of Police, one of the largest law enforcement labor organizations.

Booker also pointed out that two of her uncles and a brother are police officers. That means her own family members and those who have endorsed her  “Too often see sidewalk shrines to murdered youths” and youths “bleeding into the pavement…That’s who’s in your corner,” Booker said during his turn to ask questions of Jackson. “God I trust you.”The intense hearings this week usually last about four days; ending with a Judiciary Committee vote; then a vote by the full Senate if Jackson wins a majority in the Committee. Democrats are hoping Jackson’s confirmation process will be complete by April 11, the day they leave for Easter recess.Congressman Jim Clyburn, House majority whip, who doesn’t get to vote because only the Senate selects judges and justices, had supported a Black woman judge from his home state of South Carolina, Federal District Judge J. Michelle Childs.

But, while still praising Childs, he now supports Jackson as the choice nominee of President Biden. Clyburn said in a statement, “Ketanji Brown Jackson, an outstanding judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to become the first African American woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a glass ceiling that took far too long to shatter, and I commend President Biden for taking a sledgehammer to it. I congratulate Judge Jackson and offer my full support during the confirmation process and beyond.”