Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson (Biography)

Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson (Biography)

 

Introduction of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has a reputable background as a lawyer and judge. Bipartisan backing allowed the U.S. Senate to confirm her three times. She was confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2021 after serving for eight and a half years on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Her track record as a judge shows that she is a just and unbiased jurist who is steadfastly committed to upholding the constitutional rights of every person. Judge Jackson worked as a federal judge before serving on the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the Office of the Federal Public Defender in the District of Columbia.

Ketanji Brown Jackson (Biography)

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was born in 1970 in Washington, D.C. Judge Jackson grew up in Miami, Florida, where her parents were both public school teachers. Judge Jackson’s father attended law school after she was born, and she credits her interest in the law to sitting in their apartment with him as he finished his assignments. Judge Jackson was a high achiever at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, but a guidance counsellor advised her not to set her “sights so high.”

Ketanji Brown Jackson Fact

She received a B.A. in Government from Harvard University in 1992, magna cum laude, and then worked for a year as a staff reporter and researcher at Time Magazine, Inc. In 1996, she received her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where she was a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating from law school, Judge Jackson clerked for three federal judges appointed by presidents of both parties: Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the United States Supreme Court, Judge Bruce M. Selya of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and Judge Patti B. Saris of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Judge Jackson learned about the complexities of the criminal justice system from family members on both sides of the fence. Judge Jackson has several family members who have served in law enforcement, in addition to an uncle who is incarcerated. Her brother was a police officer who also served two tours in the Army in Iraq and Egypt. She also has two uncles who were police officers, one of whom was the Chief of Police for the City of Miami.

Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson (Biography)

Legal Experience of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Judge Jackson worked as a litigation associate at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin LLP after her first two clerkships. Following her clerkship with Justice Breyer, Judge Jackson worked at Goodwin Procter LLP, where she represented clients in criminal and civil appellate matters. In McGuire v. Reilly, Judge Jackson wrote an amicus brief on behalf of Massachusetts-based women’s rights organisations such as the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts and the YWCA of Cambridge. In an opinion written by Reagan appointee Bruce Selya, a unanimous three-judge panel of the First Circuit affirmed Judge Jackson’s position, and the Supreme Court later denied review. Her work is discussed in greater depth below. She was also an associate at the firm that is now known as Feinberg Rozen, LLP.

In 2003, Judge Jackson returned to public service as an assistant special counsel for the United States Sentencing Commission, an independent, bipartisan federal agency established by Congress to address disparities in federal sentencing. From 2005 to 2007, Judge Jackson worked as an assistant federal public defender in the District of Columbia, where she was appointed to represent low-income criminal appellants before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Judge Jackson learned about the complexities of the criminal justice system from family members on both sides of the fence. Judge Jackson has several family members who have served in law enforcement, in addition to an uncle who is incarcerated. Her brother was a police officer who also served two tours in the Army in Iraq and Egypt. She also has two uncles who were police officers, one of whom was the Chief of Police for the City of Miami.

Professional Activities of Judge Jackson

Judge Jackson serves on the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, a governing board comprised of Harvard alumni, as well as the University’s Executive Committee. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute (ALI) and has served on the Institute’s governing body, the ALI Council, since 2016.

Judge Jackson has received numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, including the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Visiting Jurist Award from the University of Chicago Law School and the David T. Lewis Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence Award from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. Judge Jackson also received the Empowering Women of Color Constance Baker Motley Award from Columbia Law School, named after the trailblazing civil rights attorney and federal judge.

Judge Jackson has put her criminal law expertise to use for the benefit of the legal community as a whole. She has taught trial advocacy and federal sentencing to the next generation of lawyers at Harvard Law School and George Washington University Law School. She served on the Sentencing Task Force of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section and the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Defender Services. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Council for Court Excellence, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civic organisation dedicated to improving the District of Columbia’s justice system. Judge Jackson has frequently lectured and written about disparities in criminal sentencing.

Judicial Experience of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson 

On April 19, 2021, President Biden nominated Judge Jackson to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Over a dozen letters were received by the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Judge Jackson’s nomination. Former US Attorneys and DOJ officials from across the country endorsed Judge Jackson, a former federal public defender, “without reservation” because of her “steadfast commitment to independence, impartiality, and integrity.”

Former law clerks for every Justice on the Supreme Court during Judge Jackson’s own clerkship term also wrote strongly in support of her nomination. Hundreds of distinguished law professors teaching a wide range of subjects at law schools across the country supported Judge Jackson’s nomination.