Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies at a confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on April 28, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

Progressives Applaud Biden Supreme Court Nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

If confirmed, Brown Jackson will be the first Black woman and first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court.

Julia Conley

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

President Joe Biden will nominate federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former public defender, to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, according to reports on Friday—a decision that drew immediate praise from progressives.

Update (10:40 am ET):

"Not only will Jackson make history as the first Black woman to serve on the court, her nomination will be a breakthrough moment in the effort to bring professional diversity to all levels of the judiciary," said Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice.

Biden called Jackson "one of our nation's brightest legal minds" and expressed confidence that she "will be an exceptional justice."

Jackson currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the judge spent two years as a public defender, an experience she credited with pushing her to engage directly with defendants in criminal trials as a trial judge.

"I speak to them directly," Jackson said last year at her confirmation hearing for her current seat. "I want them to know what is going on."

"As the first Black woman to sit on the nation's highest court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation to SCOTUS will be a milestone that is long overdue."

If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Supreme Court justice with experience in criminal defense since Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Christina Harvey, executive director of Stand Up America, called the judge "a brilliant legal mind and a staunch advocate for improving our justice system."

"As a former public defender, Judge Jackson knows exactly how rigged our courts really are," Harvey said.

She also served as vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and during her tenure the panel enacted several amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, including allowing some people convicted of crack-cocaine offenses to seek less harsh sentences.

Jackson was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit appeals court with the support of three Republicans—Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

"Judge Jackson's extraordinary breadth of experience at all levels of the judiciary, including on the nation's second-highest court, will make her one of the most qualified nominees ever," said Fallon. "Her unassailable credentials and strong track record of gaining bipartisan support mean the Senate should act swiftly to confirm her."

The National Organization for Women (NOW) said despite the judge's history of garnering bipartisan support, it was preparing to fight "misogyny, racism, and lies" from the Republican Party ahead of Jackson's confirmation hearing, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said would begin promptly.

"Today, we celebrate, and prepare for what will inevitably be a concerted and ugly campaign to oppose this nomination," said NOW President Christian Nunes. "But we know Judge Jackson has an impeccable record as a fair, knowledgeable and empathetic jurist who evaluates the law holistically to make the justice system more accessible for those it serves."

"As the first Black woman to sit on the nation's highest court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation to SCOTUS will be a milestone that is long overdue," Nunes added. "She will be an advocate for justice and for the intersectional issues that matter to NOW—and for the millions who finally have a Supreme Court that is beginning to look like America."

Rep. Cori Brown (D-Mo.), who has called on the president to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court "who will insist on racial, environmental, social, disability, and economic justice," applauded Jackson's historic nomination.

Biden "has met the moment" with his choice, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) added.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·


Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo