Newest Supreme Court Justice: Ketanji Brown Jackson


Jacquelyn Martin

Justice Brown Jackson swears in oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Meghan Carr, Contributing Writer

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has recently become the newest member of the US Supreme Court. Brown Jackson’s indictment makes history as she is the first black woman to sit on the highly-esteemed, 9-person court. 

To honor Brown’s ancestry, her parents called on a relative in the Peace Corps in Africa for a list of traditional African names. Ketanji Onykia, meaning “lovely one”, Brown was born on September 14, 1970, in Washington D.C. She grew up in Miami with the hope of receiving a judicial appointment someday, inspired by her father, who quit his job as a history teacher to attend law school. Brown went on to earn her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University and even served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review and married a fellow Harvard alum. Jackson then pursued careers as a federal judge and public defender. Most recently, she was on the US Court of Appeals of D.C. 

During his presidential campaign, President Biden pledged to appoint the first black woman to the top court under ideals of diverse representation. Jackson seemed to pair well with the president’s wishes with her African American heritage and work for justice under equality. Thus, this past February, President Biden nominated Jackson to fill the open seat on the court following the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer. The U.S. Senate then confirmed her in early April despite some speculations of being “soft” on criminals. However, when questioned, Ketanji insisted her work to defend innocent criminal was a critical piece to the justice system. 

American citizens are generally very optimistic about Ketanji’s future as justice and the policies for equality she will help enforce. Hingham High students hold similar prospects. Sophomore Liz Schembri exclaims, “I can’t wait to see the positive changes that Justice Jackson will help pass in our government!” Similarly, Junior Chris Carr comments, “I think it’s cool to have different backgrounds represented in such high positions of law.” 

Justice Brown Jackson has inspired so many people, especially women of color, to chase their dreams, no matter the systemic barriers they face in the process. According to her, “You can’t always expect to be the smartest person in the room, but you can promise to be the hardest working.”