Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson earns praise for her legal mind, experience from Colorado lawmakers

By: - March 8, 2022 9:18 am

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin of Illinois with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, on March 2, 2022. (Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

President Joe Biden announced last month his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. 

“Judge Jackson is a proven consensus builder, an accomplished lawyer, and a distinguished jurist,” Biden tweeted Wednesday. “She deserves to be confirmed as the next justice of the Supreme Court.”

Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement Friday, “Diversity is America’s strength, so it’s vital that our judicial system also reflects this truth.

Here’s what other Colorado lawmakers and officials said about Jackson.

U.S. Senate 

Colorado’s U.S. senators, both Democrats, shared their support of Jackson. 

Sen. Michael Bennet called Jackson an impressive and historic choice in a statement late last month, and said her experience as a public defender and a judge is excellent preparation for the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Sen. John Hickenlooper tweeted that Jackson has an accomplished background and breadth of experience.

The Senate is tasked by the Constitution with confirming Supreme Court nominees.

U.S. House

Jackson has the support of all four Democratic U.S. representatives from Colorado.

Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette, who represents Colorado’s 1st Congressional District, Joe Neguse, who represents the 2nd Congressional District and Ed Perlmutter, who represents the 7th District, all referenced Jackson’s legal mind when sharing their support of her nomination.

“We need her on the bench,” Neguse tweeted Thursday. 

Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat who represents the 6th District, called Jackson’s nomination historic and long-overdue. 

“Her confirmation should move quickly as I believe she will protect the rights of all Americans and uphold America’s principles of freedom, equality, and the rule of law as well as help ensure the Supreme Court is better representative of our nation as a whole,” Perlmutter said in a statement emailed to Newsline by his spokesperson. 

Making history

If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as the first former federal public defender. 

“For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America,” Biden said when he announced Jackson as his nominee. “And I believe it’s time that we have a Court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications and that we inspire all young people to believe that they can one day serve their country at the highest level.” 

“As it happens, I share a birthday with the first Black woman ever to be appointed as a federal judge: the Honorable Constance Baker Motley. We were born exactly 49 years to the day apart,” Jackson said. “Today, I proudly stand on Judge Motley’s shoulders, sharing not only her birthday but also her steadfast and courageous commitment to equal justice under law.”

About Jackson 

Jackson has a history of receiving support from members of both major political parties.

Former President Barack Obama nominated Jackson to be a district court judge in 2012 and she was confirmed with bipartisan support the following year, according to the White House website. Obama nominated Jackson to serve as the vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2009, and in 2010, she was confirmed with bipartisan support.

Jackson served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and during her speech, said that Breyer exemplified in every way that a Supreme Court Justice can perform at the “highest level of skill and integrity while also being guided by civility, grace, pragmatism, and generosity of spirit.”

The U.S. Sentencing Commission is part of the judicial branch and was established by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, according to its website. The Commission establishes sentencing policies and practices for federal courts, including sentencing guidelines for people convicted of federal crimes. 

Breyer, 83, announced his retirement from the Supreme Court in January. In a letter to Biden, Breyer wrote that he intends for his decision to retire to go into effect in late June or early July, assuming that a successor has been nominated and confirmed by then. Breyer served on the Supreme Court for almost 28 years and wrote major opinions that supported abortion rights, according to an article published on the Supreme Court blog

Because Breyer generally sided with liberals, the ideological makeup of the Court would not be changed if Jackson were to be confirmed. 

“Judge Jackson is a nominee worthy of Justice Breyer’s legacy of excellence and decency,” Biden tweeted after he announced his nomination of Jackson. “She’s eminently qualified and a brilliant legal mind — with the utmost character and integrity.”

Jackson attended Harvard University and Harvard Law School. Jackson’s brother served in Iraq and Egypt and worked as a police officer in Baltimore, according to the White House website. 

The hearings

The Senate hearings for Jackson will be held March 21 to 24. 

It is uncertain how much support Jackson will have from Republicans. 

Last month, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican of South Carolina, tweeted, “If media reports are accurate, and Judge Jackson has been chosen as the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Breyer, it means the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again.” 

Neguse tweeted that when Jackson was nominated for the D.C. Circuit Court last year, Graham voted for her. 

Graham was one of three Republicans who voted last year to confirm Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, were the other two Republicans who voted to confirm Jackson. Jackson was confirmed 53-44, with Republican Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, not voting. 

Jackson needs a simple majority of the vote in order to be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. There are 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and two Independents — who caucus with the Democrats — in the Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote. 

“I look forward to Judge Jackson’s appearance before the Committee and to respectful and dignified hearings,” Sen. Richard Durbin, a Democrat of Illinois, wrote in a letter when announcing the hearing dates. Durbin serves as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.