Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, will bring fresh perspectives to the work if she is confirmed. She can serve for decades. But there’s little reason to think she can do much to change the court’s conservative trajectory in the short term.
Her replacement Justice Stephen G. Breyer will substitute a libertarian for a libertarian and will do nothing to change the underlying dynamics of the current court, which is dominated by six Republican appointees. If anything happens, in an institution that values seniority, the three-member liberal wing of the court is likely to lose power.
New judges often take years to find their place. “I was terrified for the first three years,” said Justice Breyer, who joined the court in 1994 a 2006 interview.
Judge Clarence Thomas, who joined the court in 1991, said he asked his new colleagues how long it took to reach his stride. “For one, they say it takes three to five years under normal circumstances to adjust to court,” Justice Thomas said in 1996.
His own circumstances, he added, referring to hearings confirm his bruisespushed him to the “outer limits” of that period.
Estimates do not change over time. “As an extraordinary mind as Brandeis says, it took him four or five years to feel that he understood the legal issues of the court,” wrote Justice Felix Frankfurter of Justice Louis D. Brandeis, who sat on court from 1916 to 1939.
However, there is a black woman on the court can change the minds of other judges in subtle ways.
Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016once mused that the mere presence of Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black justice, had changed the way his colleagues considered certain cases during their private conferences.
“Marshall can be a force of persuasion just by sitting there,” Justice Scalia told Juan Williams in an interview for his biography of Justice Marshall. “He won’t need to open his mouth to influence the nature of the conference and how seriously the conference will take racial issues.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/us/politics/supreme-court-jackson-future.html Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson: A Breakthrough Pick Not Likely to Reshape the Supreme Court