Ketanji Brown Jackson as a Front Runner to Fill Senate Seat

Widely considered the top contender for Biden’s nomination to the Supreme Court is Ketanji Brown Jackson, a federal court judge in D.C. With the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, Jackson’s appointment would make her the first black woman to sit on the Supreme Court after President Joe Biden vowed to make this historical feat. During a Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina during the 2020 presidential election, President Biden is on record saying “I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court, to make sure we in fact get every representation.” It is seen today that many remember President Biden’s pledge, even though many have criticized him for it.  

Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine has on the record criticized President Biden’s pledge to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court, even calling his efforts to fill the vacancy, “clumsy at best.” She claims President Biden is politicizing the entire nomination process, furthering the perception that the court is a political institution similar to the likes of Congress. What Collins failed to mention is the fact that former presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump did the very same thing. President Reagan said he would appoint a woman to the Supreme Court while President Trump similar said the same, promising he would appoint a woman to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Brown Jackson is considered a top contender for reasons that include her experience clerking for retired Justice Breyer, serving as a district judge for over eight years, as well her confirmation to the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Many believe that what gives President Biden hope of her confirmation, is the fact that Republican votes made her confirmation to the U.S Court of Appeals possible. This past support from Republicans along with the familiarity that Brown Jackson has with the Senate has elevated her name among the ten contenders that President Biden is considering. A nominee to the D.C Circuit, she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Appointed by former President Barack Obama, she served as vice-chair of the U.S Sentencing Commission before she was selected again by Obama to serve as a judge on the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia.   

Other names that have been raised as contenders include names such as Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California supreme court as well as Michelle Childs, a federal trial court judge in South Carolina. Colleagues and those close to Kruger have said that the justice would be a great addition to the U.S Supreme Court because she is so much not highly ideological as she is analytical and committed to the law. Childs’ supporters, however, see her as an outsider who could bring a new lens and a fresh perspective to the court. As she did not clerk on the Supreme Court or have a “D.C-centric resume” that is often typical of Supreme Court contenders, she spent her career in her home state.