Black Talent Initiative

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

The Joint Center Commends U.S. Senate for Confirming Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the SCOTUS


April 7, 2022


Victoria Johnson,, 202-789-3500

The Joint Center Commends U.S. Senate for Confirming Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the SCOTUS

Confirmation secured despite unwarranted attacks against supremely-talented Black woman

Washington, DC – The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies celebrates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. Judge Jackson was the first Black woman nominated to the high court and will be the first to serve on the bench.

“This is a special day for Black communities and for all Americans, and marks the start of a new era for the judicial branch of the United States. We are celebrating this joyful moment with Judge Jackson, and reflecting on the significant impact she will have on our nation over the next several decades,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center. “We are particularly appreciative of President Biden for nominating Judge Jackson, and thankful to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, and the U.S. Senators who voted to confirm her. Unfortunately, a faction of people in our nation — whether they be some co-workers, police officers, or U.S. Senators — continue to try to challenge the humanity, credibility, and legitimacy of supremely-talented Black people through marginalization, unwarranted accusations, and contentious questioning. When faced with these arbitrary attacks, Judge Jackson responded with poise, grace, and exceptional levels of judicial acumen. For this reason — and so many more — we know that Judge Jackson will be an exceptional addition to the Court.”

Judge Jackson has legal experience at all three levels of the federal judiciary. She served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, whom she will replace, and as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Additionally, she was a public defender and served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

“We are celebrating an impressive list of firsts for Judge Jackson. We are also celebrating the diversity and deeply unique experience she will add to the bench. Black women are smiling today. Black girls have a new role model in Judge Jackson,” said Dr. LaShonda Brenson, the Joint Center’s senior researcher. “But through those smiles is the harsh acknowledgment of Judge Jackson’s treatment by some senators. We witnessed what many Black Americans, especially Black women, know and experience as we navigate professional life: an attempt to undermine our achievements and mischaracterize our records. It is disappointing to see how the historic nature of this moment was clouded by alternate agendas and politics from some senators. But we also witnessed Judge Jackson rise above the political theater. We are so proud of Judge Jackson for refusing to be labeled or stereotyped and facing those combative moments with dignity.”

In addition to President Biden and the senators who voted for Judge Jackson, we are also appreciative of the various organizations that conceived of this day and took steps to make it a reality, including She Will Rise, Win With Black Women, the Black Women’s Roundtable, and the National Women’s Law Center Action Fund. We’re also thankful for the leadership and activism of the Joint Center’s Black Talent Initiative partner organizations.

The Joint Center is proud to have supported Judge Jackson. A year ago, the Joint Center urged President Biden to prioritize nominating Black judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals due to impending retirements. Judge Jackson was among the president’s first nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

About Judge Jackson: Judge Jackson was confirmed to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in June 2021. From 2013 until 2021, she served as a United States District Court judge, and until December 2014 she also served as a vice chair and commissioner on the United States Sentencing Commission.

Prior to her four years of service on the Sentencing Commission, Judge Jackson worked for three years as counsel at Morrison & Foerster LLP, with a practice that focused on criminal and civil appellate litigation in state and federal courts, including matters before the U.S. Supreme Court. Before joining Morrison & Foerster LLP, Judge Jackson served as an assistant federal public defender in the appeals division of the Office of the Federal Public Defender in the District of Columbia.

Judge Jackson received a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1996, where she served as a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review. She received an A.B., magna cum laude, in Government from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1992.

About the Joint Center: The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, provides compelling and actionable policy solutions to eradicate persistent and evolving barriers to the full freedom of Black people in America. We are the trusted forum for leading experts and scholars to participate in major public policy debates and promote ideas that advance Black communities. We use evidence-based research, analysis, convenings, and strategic communications to support Black communities and a network of allies.