NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The history-making confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court offers a moment filled with hope and excitement for Black girls and young women, experts say. In a 53-47 vote – with three Republicans joining Democrats – the Senate Thursday confirmed Judge Jackson, making her only the third black and sixth woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
President Joe Biden nominated Jackson on Feb. 5 to take the seat of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.
“This is one of the most incredible historical moments for our nation and one of immense pride and joy for millions of Americans with the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.
“African American women have been at the forefront in facilitating and bringing positive change to our country for centuries. The true significance of this confirmation cannot be overstated. Now, an African American woman with impeccable credentials, a brilliant legal mind with the utmost character and integrity, will serve on the highest court in our nation. It is long overdue, but the day has come.”
President Glover, who also serves as vice chair of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), commended President Bidden “for staying the course and keeping his commitment to our community and Black women with his nomination and now confirmation of Judge Brown.”
Kennedy Booker, a junior political science major from Detroit, said Judge Jackson’s confirmation provides a fresh face for the Supreme Court, and her previous judicial and governmental experience creates the diversity needed at the federal court level.
“Justice Jackson represents the kind of change our federal courts need,” Booker said. “She will forever be an asset and trailblazer for those that come after her.”
Fellow political science major Anissia Fleming, a sophomore from Franklin, Tennessee, said Judge Jackson will be a “representation of the change taking place in the country.”
“As a symbol, Judge Jackson represents moving past the stereotypes that have to do with race and gender,” Fleming added. “As an individual, she is more than qualified for the job. She will provide exactly the type of representation this country needs as a role model and as a source of inspiration in the Supreme Court for so many in this country.”
Dr. Shameka Nicole Cathey, assistant professor of political science at TSU, said the historic confirmation of Judge Jackson is “symbolic of the ongoing strive of Black women in our country.”
“Having Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson included in the U.S. Supreme Court offers a particular significance in relations to diversity and representation,” Cathey said. “Beyond her personal background, she brings a plethora of professional experiences that not only qualifies her for this moment but gives her the ability to own this moment. Her very presence on the High Court will push the framework of public policy in our country.”
Since 1790, there have been 115 Supreme Court justices. The confirmation of Jackson for the first time in history seats four women and two Black justices on the High Court. Judge Clarence Thomas is the current seated African American Justice.