This brilliant 51-year-old lawyer, appointed by Democratic President Joe Biden, was sworn in on Thursday before the head of the highest court, where only two black men and no African-Americans have sat in 233 years.
She replaces the progressive judge Stephen Breyer who is retiring at 83 and comes at a pivotal moment: under the impetus of his majority conservative magistrates, the Court has taken a sharp turn to the right, consolidating the right to bear arms and pulverizing the one to abortion.
Ketanji Brown Jackson hopes to help repair the Court’s damaged image. During her congressional hearing in April, she assumed her role as
little girls all over the country and hoped that his confirmation increases
trust African Americans in the justice system.
But she especially insisted on another of her differences. While most of her colleagues have distinguished themselves as prosecutors, Ketanji Brown Jackson has worked on the side of the accused: for two years, she was a lawyer in the legal aid services in Washington, where she defended defendants without resources. .
During her hearing, she explained that she was struck by their ignorance of the law and that, once she became a judge, she took
great care to explain its decisions to the condemned, so that they understand the seriousness of their acts and the imposed sanction.
She also has intimate experience with the penal system: in 1989, an uncle of hers was sentenced to life in prison under a law that automatically imposed that sentence after three drug violations.
Even if she knew him little,
this family experience made her aware of the impact of the law on people’s livestold the washington post a friend, on condition of anonymity.
A stable childhood
Ketanji Brown Jackson had a stable childhood in a family of teachers living in Florida. By
pride in their heritage and
hope for the futurehis parents gave him an African name, Ketanji Onyika, meaning
the charmingshe told Congress.
Unlike them, who
have personally experienced segregationshe underlined her
chance to be born after the great civil rights struggles of the 1960s which brought down many racist laws.
She was able to attend schools with students of diverse ethnic origins – where she distinguished herself in eloquence contests -, earn a diploma from the prestigious Harvard University and lead a rich career, while starting a family with a surgeon. White.
As soon as she finished her studies, she practiced in the temple of American law, as an assistant to Judge Stephen Breyer. She then alternated experiences in the private sector – in law firms – and the public, notably at the Sentencing Commission, an independent agency responsible for harmonizing criminal policy in the United States.
Praised by Biden
In 2013, she took a new step: Democratic President Barack Obama appointed her a federal judge in Washington.
Over the next eight years, she rendered dozens of decisions. In particular, she disavows Donald Trump, who is trying to prevent Congress from summoning one of his advisers, writing:
presidents are not kings.
Upon her arrival at the White House, Joe Biden appointed her to the influential Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, considered a springboard for the Supreme Court. Logically, he chooses her in February to replace Judge Breyer who, at 83, has decided to retire.
On several occasions, the president praises his
rigorous judge’s record.
During his hearing, however, several elected Republicans accused him of having given too light sentences to child pornographers, echoing their denunciation of a supposed Joe Biden.
impartialityshe defends her decisions and refuses to be drawn into their ideological battles.
During her previous confirmation process, she had already sworn to keep out, in her work as a judge,
his opinions and any other inappropriate considerationincluding skin color.
I may have a different life experience than my colleaguesshe added.
And I hope it can be of interest.