Ketanji Brown Jackson has told the committee deciding whether she will become the first black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court that she will administer the law “without fear or favor.”
Joe Biden last month announced her nomination to replace retired Justice Stephen Breyer, but the Senate Judiciary Committee has the power to “take or sink” the presidential election, he said BBC. “If successful, it will be examined by the entire Senate.”
But Republicans should make life difficult for Jackson during the four-day confirmation hearings that began yesterday. “There’s going to be some very pointed questions about their record,” said former Democratic Senator Doug Jones of Alabama CNN.
Here are five insights into the life of the 51-year-old judge.
Childhood dream of being a judge
One of Jackson’s earliest memories is of sitting next to her then-law student father in the evenings reading books with her while he was studying. “There’s really no question that my interest in law started so early,” she said during a presentation to an audience at the University of Georgia Lecture 2017.
Uncle imprisoned for life
When she was in college, one of Brown’s uncles was sentenced to life in prison for possessing cocaine with intent to distribute it. But his drug conviction “in rough 1980s Miami was just part of her early understanding of the complexities of the criminal justice system,” she said The New York Times.
Another of her uncles was a Miami police chief, and a third was a sex crimes detective, while “her younger brother worked undercover for the Baltimore police force,” the newspaper reported.
Studied acting with Matt Damon
Jackson attended Harvard in Massachusetts, where the winters were, in her words, “unbearable.” But she loved college, where she took an acting class that included now-Hollywood star Matt Damon.
“Even though I was pretty good, I doubt he remembers me now,” she said during her lecture at the University of Georgia.
Knits to calm nerves
Jackson learned to knit in 2009 after Barack Obama appointed her a member of the US Sentencing Commission, the legal agency that develops federal law enforcement policy.
The nomination and confirmation process was “nerve-wracking,” she explained during her 2017 presentation. “I actually taught myself to knit during that time to channel my nervous energy,” said Brown, who added that she was “unusually nervous and started so many scarves that I could have outfitted a small army”.
Three secrets of their success
The Supreme Court nominee has credited her success to “hard work, big breaks and tough skin.”
During a 2020 Lecture at the University of ChicagoShe said: “I sincerely believe that the greatest gift my parents gave me at a very early age is a thick skin.
“As a black black girl who was often the only person of color in my class, club, or social circle, my parents knew it was important for me to develop a sense of self that was in no way dependent on what others felt about me my abilities thought.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/956167/ketanji-brown-jackson Ketanji Brown Jackson: Five Things You Didn’t Know