Judge Jackson’s nomination process continues to demonstrate partisan divides

Casey Williams ’24

“On this vote, the yays are 53. The nays are 47 and this nomination is confirmed,” Vice President Kamala Harris said last Thursday, confirming the first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Ketanji Brown Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden on February 22, 2022, after Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer had announced his retirement. Jackson had plenty of experience and all the necessary qualifications for the U.S. Supreme Court Justice position: she served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit with bipartisan support, as Vice-Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, as a Supreme Court clerk for Justice Breyer, and even as a public defender, the first formal federal public defender to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Supreme Court Justice nominees are usually met with resistance from their opposing party, and throughout history, ugly nominations have not been uncommon.

With all the necessary qualifications, most would assume that Justice Jackson would have a relatively smooth court hearing, but that is nowhere near the case. Supreme Court Justice nominees are usually met with resistance from their opposing party, and throughout history, ugly nominations have not been uncommon. Louis D. Brandeis was appointed to Supreme Court Justice by President Woodrow Wilson, widely recognized as the most contested nomination in the history of the United States. Brandeis was the first Jewish Supreme Court nominee, sparking blatant anti-Semitism. The nomination process took a total of four months, and Brandeis was constantly attacked by news outlets such as The Boston Globe that described him as “a radical, a theorist, impractical, with strong socialistic tendencies.” 

After a bitter hearing, Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed as Supreme Court Justice by a vote of 50-48, but the point stands that nomination processes have frequently been controversial and difficult. 

Another memorable nomination process in recent memory was the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, nominated by Former President Donald J. Trump. Kavanaugh served on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, as a clerk of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and was widely recognized as highly qualified. During Kavanaugh’s nomination process, he was accused of sexual assault by Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, further intensifying the process and generating more conflict between both parties. Then-Senator Harris accused Kavanaugh of lying under oath and lying to the American people, and Senator Elizabeth Warren stated that Kavanaugh was nominated without a thorough investigation of the allegations. After a bitter hearing, Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed as Supreme Court Justice by a vote of 50-48, but the point stands that nomination processes have frequently been controversial and difficult. 

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, honoree at the Third Annual Judge James B. Parsons Legacy Dinner, February 24, 2020, University of Chicago Law School – Lloyd DeGrane via Wikimedia Commons

During Judge Jackson’s nomination process, the most popular Republican lines of attack were on Jackson’s work as a judge, her sentencing of child pornography cases, and views on critical race theory and LGBTQ issues. Still, one of the more memorable moments was when Jackson broke down into tears after being praised by Senator Cory Booker. Booker praised Jackson for dealing with her nomination process, displaying an extraordinary demeanor. 

Kentanji Brown Jackson is now the first African-American woman to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court.

This was one of the most conflicted nomination processes in the recent history of nominations, and Kentanji Brown Jackson is now the first African-American woman to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court. 

Haverford students must understand that these current events and political opinions can create conflicts amongst one another, and we must look past it and instead towards building a better school community.