Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Is Confirmed As Next SCOTUS Justice

Published date13 April 2022
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Discrimination, Disability & Sexual Harassment, Employee Rights/ Labour Relations
Law FirmLittler Mendelson
AuthorMs Cindy-Ann Thomas and James A. Paretti, Jr.

On April 7, 2022, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill the next term's vacancy on the bench with Justice Stephen Breyer's upcoming retirement. In an often-contentious confirmation process that included questions lobbed from Republican senators on Judge Jackson's position on child pornography, critical race theory, court-packing, transgender rights, and her role as a public defender for Guantanamo Bay detainees, Jackson was confirmed 53-47 with bipartisan support. The affirmative votes included all 50 Democratic-voting senators and Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah. Senators Murkowski and Romney announced their support for Jackson as a procedural vote was taking place. While Jackson's confirmation does not change the ideological make-up of the bench, it is historic given that she is the first Black female justice among the 115 justices who have served on the 233-year-old Court.


Judge Jackson, age 51, received her law degree from Harvard University, where she was graduated in 1996 with a Juris Doctor cum laude. Judge Jackson's legal career included three clerkships. She served as a law clerk to Judge Patti Saris of the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts from 1996-1997; she then served Judge Bruce Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1997-1998; and after a year of private practice, she then clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Breyer from 1999-2000.

After her clerkships, Judge Jackson spent three years in private practice, then became an assistant special counsel to the United States Sentencing Commission. She worked as a federal public defender between 2005-2007, then in private practice from 2007-2010, then returned to the Sentencing Commission as its vice chair from 2010-2014.

In September 2012 President Obama nominated Judge Jackson to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and she was seated in May 2013 after being confirmed by the Senate.

Last year, President Biden nominated Judge Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Senate confirmed her nomination to the appellate court on April 19, 2021 by a vote of 53-44 (with votes from Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Senators Collins and Murkowski.)

Positions on Labor & Employment Issues

Because Judge Jackson was appointed as a federal appellate judge just last year, her brief tenure in that position has not...

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