Supreme Court: Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Judge Who Broke the Roof of the American Dream | International


In view of the little that could be professionally objected to the progressive candidacy of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who on Thursday became the first black woman justice in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Republican senators devoted themselves during the marathon days of her confirmation to ask her to do things like rate her religious feelings from one to ten, define the outlines of the word “woman” or state whether she believes babies are born racist. Also, crucially, she was portrayed as too soft on crime and too soft on child pornography offences. And your legal philosophy? So dangerous and so influenced by the far-left lobbies that fund it that it would explain why they prefer to keep it secret.

Jackson, born in Washington 51 years ago but raised in Miami as the daughter of two middle-class teachers trained in segregated schools and historic black universities, answered hostile questions and patiently endured every rude interruption, took a deep breath and chatted with the dexterity of the debating champion she was when she studied, like Jeff Bezos, at Palmetto Public High School in Florida. “Nothing has prepared me better than this experience to succeed in law and in life,” he told a 2017 conference.

That same temperance served him to force his way into places traditionally opposed to his veto like Harvard, where he fought to get a student to remove a (racist) Confederate flag from one of the residence windows and graduated with honors after a pre-college counselor told her it was best not to aim ‘so high’.

Such clairvoyant talents were discredited again on Thursday, when Jackson made history by being confirmed by the Senate. And on this occasion it is not a ready-made formula: it is the first time that an African-American occupies one of the nine seats of the high court in its 232 years of existence (a time admittedly not very diversified : only 8 of the 116 justices of the Supreme Court are not white men). It will also be the first time that four women will coincide in the institution.

“It’s not a historic designation for those reasons alone. Many new perspectives are opening up with it,” explains Paul M. Collins, professor of law at the University of Massachusetts and author of three books on the progressive politicization of the Supreme Court. “Her arrival will diversify the court: she is the first magistrate with a past as a court-appointed lawyer and has experience in judicial investigation, like Sonia Sotomayor [appointed in 2009 by Obama]”. Collins points to another advantage of her resume: her performance as vice president of the Sentencing Commission, an independent agency that works to unify the criteria for federal courts. She was also a judge in the District of Columbia, Washington, from where she stood up to Donald Trump (and from where she wrote a sentence that said “presidents are not kings”), as well as her court of appeal, placed for who received the same support last year as now: 53 votes for (the 50 Democratic senators and the three Republicans) and 47 against. Despite the seemingly close result, the fact that he got some support from the opposing side is a triumph in itself in the United States of polarization.

In her first appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of the most important in Capitol media (and thus, outbursts from some of its 22 members), she told her husband, surgeon Patrick Jackson, that she cried her eyes and her daughters, Leila and Talia, who knew he wanted to go to law school when he saw his father’s textbooks, then a law student, on the kitchen table with his coloring books. She has dreamed of being a judge since she was 12 (!). And since his name emerged in January after his mentor announced his resignation, Judge Stephen Breyer, 83, to allow Joe Biden his first nomination to the highest court in the land, keeps repeating that ‘She hopes her example will empower girls like the one she once was to believe that anything is possible. Breyer, who will leave his post in Jackson this summer when his term of office ends, stepped aside before it was too late (and before Democrats likely lost control of the Senate in November’s legislative election). .

From the study of his more than fifty sentences, we can deduce that his bias is progressive, even if during the hearings he preferred to define his philosophy by two ideals: “Neutrality and independence”. “I approach each case without preconceptions,” he said. She learned this when she was a public defender, when she could not choose her clients and pleaded, among other things, on behalf of a Guantánamo prisoner.

He has also avoided taking a position on abortion (he has religious ideas about the beginning of a life, but puts them aside, he says, when he puts on the toga) or joining schools of controversial thought such as Critical Race Theory, a Frankfurt School subplot that emphasizes the study of the slave past as the origin of systemic racism and that it is one of the most bloody culture war in the United States. And although he is not a hooliganlike some of his more conservative colleagues, of originalism, who advocate a very faithful interpretation of the designs of the founding fathers, engraved more than two centuries ago in the Constitution, he does not share either a very free interpretation of the text which would convert Supreme Court justices in de facto legislators. “I don’t believe in a living, changing Constitution imbued with my own political perspective or the political perspective of the moment,” I say.

Few things influence the lives of Americans more than the decisions of the Supreme Court. Right now, for example, they are preparing a sentence that could put an end to half a century of consensus on the right to abortion. Changing a progressive togado, Breyer, for a slightly more progressive, Jackson, will not change the makeup of the high court, with an unprecedented supermajority in eight decades of six conservative judges against three progressives. Nor will orientation decisions like that, but at least it will make him look a bit more like the society he represents.

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