ASU Law Professor discusses Ketanji Brown Jackson

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President Biden last week nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S Supreme Court. That nomination made good on the president’s campaign pledge to nominate an African American woman to the high-court. We learned more about the nominee and this historic nomination, from ASU law professor Victoria Sahani.

How do you feel about the nomination?

“I am so excited about Ketanji Brown Jackson being nominated for this really important and historic post on the Supreme Court. She is eminently qualified, and if she is confirmed this would be her third time being confirmed by the Senate as a judicial appointee to a federal court.”

Katanji Brown Jackson, who is she?

“Katanji Brown Jackson has a very illustrious educational and professional background that really uniquely qualifies her for this position. She attended Harvard college and Harvard law school. Thereafter she clerked for three judges at the district court level, the circuit court level, and she clerked for Justice Breyer, so it would be very fitting for one of his clerks to replace him

Her parents and she are from Miami, born in D.C, raised in Miami and her parents are educators and education administrators, so she has that fundamental background of her parents supporting her through her whole career.”

Her judicial philosophy, what do we know?

“She is a very measured jurist, she’s known for her reasoned opinions. She’s very thorough, some might say her opinions are a little lengthy, but I think it’s better for a judge to be thorough than brief.

She’s a very balanced jurist. She’s ruled in favor of leftist or progressive causes, and also in favor of more conservative or not-as-progressive causes as well. So she’s not an “extreme lefty” as some Republicans might say. Justice Breyer has characterized her as someone who sees all sides of the issue. I think she’s someone after that same model of Justice Breyer, very balanced, very measured, and wanting to see all sides.”

The confirmation process: will it be smooth?

“I would never think that a confirmation process would be smooth when you have a president from one party, and a very slim majority from that party in the Senate. That said, I do think that there’s a risk for Republicans because Democrats have, very slimly, the majority. It’s in their best interests, I think, to show some bi-partisanship, because it is very likely Judge Jackson will be confirmed.”


Victoria Sahani, ASU Law Professor

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