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Who is President Biden’s New Supreme Court Pick Ketanji Brown Jackson?

On February 25, 2022, President Joe Biden announced Ketanji Brown Jackson as his Supreme Court nominee. From 2013 to 2021, former President Barack Obama nominated Jackson to serve as a judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. In addition, she has served as a United States Circuit Court Judge since June 2021.

If confirmed, Jackson will replace retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and be the first African American woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court follows through on President Biden’s promise to appoint an African American woman to the highest judicial authority in the United States. With Jackson on the bench, civil rights groups, gun control groups, and public-sector unions see somebody representing their interests and who will likely rule in line with left-leaning policies.

Overwatch performed an Echo Check Plus into Jackson to dive deeper into her history as a lawyer and judge for this brief.

Jackson’s Background and Education

Jackson, a D.C. native, was raised in Miami, Florida. Jackson graduated from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in Pinecrest, Florida, in 1988. At Miami Palmetto, Jackson’s mentor was Francine Berger, an award-winning speech and debate coach. From 1988-1992 Jackson attended Harvard University, earning her B.A.

Also, from 1992 to 1993, she worked at Time Magazine, writing about various subjects, including rising prices on pharmaceutical drugs, the ACLU, Rodney King, and Coca Cola advertising. In 1996, Jackson attended Harvard Law, where she received her Juris Doctor.

Law Firm Experience

From 1994 to 2010, Jackson worked for the following law firms:

  • Kirkland and Ellis, LLP – the largest law firm in the U.S. by revenue
  • Miller Cassidy LaRocca & Lewin, LLP – no longer in operation
  • The Law Office of Nan Elder
  • Ropes and Gray, LLP. – a global firm with 1,400 attorneys
  • Goodwin Procter, LLP – one of the world’s largest law firms
  • Feinberg Rozen, LLP
  • Morrison and Foerster, LLP – which has over 1,000 attorneys

Research into each law firm and Jackson did not return any concerning data.

Jackson and Guantanamo Bay Detainees

In 2007, Jackson was a member of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Guantanamo Global Justice initiative. As a member of the CCR’s initiative, she filed habeas corpus petitions on behalf of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

While it is unclear at what date Jackson represented former Taliban Intelligence Chief, Khi Ali Ghul, he was one of her clients while she was a public defender in Washington D.C.

The Fraternal Order of Police on Jackson’s Nomination

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is the law enforcement labor organization and assesses that Jackson, would rule justly.

On February 25, 2022, the FOP wrote, “From our analysis of Judge Jackson’s record and some of her cases, we believe she has considered the facts and applied the law consistently and fairly on a range of issues.  There is little doubt that she has the temperament, intellect, legal experience, and family background to have earned this appointment.  We are reassured that, should she be confirmed, she would approach her future cases with an open mind and treat issues related to law enforcement fairly and justly.”

Judge Jackson’s Positions on Various Issues

In the 2019 case, MAKE THE ROAD NEW YORK, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Kevin MCALEENAN, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, et al., Defendants, Jackson ruled that the Department of Homeland Security could not broaden deportation without a court hearing.

Jackson has received endorsements from the U.S.’s top gun control organizations, Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords Law Center, and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. However, researching Jackson’s views on the 2nd amendment, did not return any data suggesting what her legal opinion is on the issue.

Judge Jackson has yet to rule on a case relating to abortion, which 1 in 4 voters see as a key issue. She was endorsed by Planned Parenthood on February 25, 2022. Planned Parenthood wrote, “Now more than ever, we need a Supreme Court justice who understands the impact of the court’s rulings on people — particularly on reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights — and the importance of protecting individual liberties for generations to come.”

In February 2022, Judge Jackson ruled against a Trump Administration policy, which limited the collective bargaining power of federal labor unions.

According to greenmatters.com, Jackson does not appear to have a strong opinion on environmental issues like President Joe Biden and his cabinet. She has ruled both in favor and against environmental causes.

OUR ASSESSMENT

Judge Jackson may face some opposition during confirmation hearings due to her time as a public defender and her support for the habeas corpus of GITMO detainees. Judge Jackson has never ruled on gun rights, voting rights, or abortion — all key voting issues to Americans — so analysts cannot determine how she sides with the court. Further, as Jackson appears somewhat indifferent to environmental issues, it remains to be seen whether she supports climate change policies should she be confirmed.

Jackson, who was endorsed by 12 public-sector unions, will likely be seen as an ally. The conservative majority on the bench will present consistent opposition should Jackson be confirmed.

A review of open-source data sets revealed no inflammatory or concerning commentary from Jackson. Our analysts found no significant digital footprint or social media presence for Jackson. Her lack of digital footprint and social media presence may indicate an attempt to maintain her impartiality in the eyes of constitutional law.

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