SCOTUS Watch: We Have A Nominee

It’s time to Break It Down!

After 233 years and 115 Associate Supreme Court Justices, last week President Biden, as he promised in his campaign, nominated the first Black woman to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). When Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement (pending, until the end of the current term), President Biden indicated that he would name his nominee by the end of the month (February). Last Friday, February 25th, the President introduced Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

While the headline will lead with Black woman, it should be noted that Judge Jackson has a wide array of legal experience. She is known to have exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the law. Biden wanted someone committed to equal justice under the law, and who understands the profound impact that SCOTUS decisions have on the lives of American people.

Judge Jackson is widely regarded as one of the nation’s brightest legal minds and has an unusual breadth of experience in the American legal system, all of which when combined, gives her the perspective to be an exceptional Justice. She was Student Body President in High School, and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, and cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was also an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Her career highlights include serving as a law clerk for Justice Breyer, served as a public defender, representing defendants who did not have the means to pay for an attorney (if confirmed, she would become the first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court.), served as Vice Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, served as a district court judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and served in her current capacity as an appeals court judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

During his announcement of her nomination, President Biden described Judge Jackson as “a proven consensus builder, an accomplished lawyer, and a distinguished jurist.” All traits and attributes one would think essential for a Justice of the SCOTUS.

However, in a post Trump (presidency) world, we have come to expect the partisan divide to be self-evident. Following the script, a number of conservatives were quick to express that they were less than thrilled with the President’s nominee. The next day in a Fox News opinion piece, Carrie Severino, who heads the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, called Jackson “a politician in robes” and accused her of being bad for business, soft on illegal immigration, and hostile toward the pro-life movement.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Biden’s decision to consider only Black female candidates for SCOTUS would “humiliate” and “degrade” America. According to The Guardian, he said, “You should be elevated in America based on what you do … not on how you were born, not on your DNA, because that’s Rwanda.” This is where I ask you to recall the opening sentence of this post. The part that notes a Black woman has never been nominated, to say nothing of confirmed, in 233 years, and 115 prior nominees.

In response, WaPo columnist Jennifer Rubin called Carlson’s comments “the perfect distillation of White supremacy.”

In a piece he wrote for The Week W. James Antle III argued that Biden should have chosen Judge Michell Childs, who would have gotten more Republican votes but would not have made the Democratic Party’s progressive wing quite so happy.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said I understand that Judge Jackson was the favored choice of far-left dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the Court itself. With that said, I look forward to carefully reviewing Judge Jackson’s nomination during the vigorous and thorough Senate process that the American people deserve.

Senator Lindsey Graham said, “If media reports are accurate and Judge Jackson has been chosen as the SCOTUS nominee to replace Justice Breyer, it means the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again.”

While the GOP tide is decidedly slanted against Judge Jackson, a few conservatives have begun to express dissent. Yesterday, Lawyer William Burck, in a statement obtained exclusively by CNN, said of Jackson that “no serious person can question her qualifications to the Court and to my mind her judicial philosophy is well within the mainstream.”

Burck’s statement comes on the heels of similar endorsements by retired conservative judges J. Michael Luttig and Thomas B. Griffith, Republican appointees, who both sat on federal appeals courts. Their positions are at clear variance from the comments noted by the naysayers above.

All things considered, it is anticipated that after a spirited confirmation process, Judge Jackson will be confirmed. Undoubtedly, President Biden, ever the optimist, hopes several Republicans will, after meeting with Judge Jackson, and conducting confirmation hearings, vote for her, making her confirmation bipartisan. If not, however, it’s likely all 50 Democrats will support the President’s nominee, and Vice President Harris will seal the deal. Let’s just say, it’s about d… time. “SCOTUS Watch: We Have A Nominee!”

I’m done; “holla back!”

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