NAACP Celebrates Historic Nomination of First Black Woman to Supreme Court

Washington, DC – The NAACP issued the following statement on President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States: 

“The NAACP applauds President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. This is a historic moment for our nation and our community in particular. President Biden has met this moment with an extraordinarily qualified nominee, who has stellar credentials and an impeccable background,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO. 

“This is tremendously exciting news. We have been calling for this at the NAACP. We need Black women at every level of the judiciary, and especially on the highest court of the land,” said NAACP general counsel Janette McCarthy Wallace. “Beginning with Judge Jane Bolin and Judge Constance Baker Motley, Black women have been highly qualified and exceptional judges — and as such, they have been valuable members of the judicial system and they made incredibly unique contributions.”

Since 1789, 115 justices have served on the Supreme Court of the United States, and not one has been a Black woman. The Court decides critical cases impacting the lives of all Americans, ranging from voting rights, economic justice, equal educational opportunity, reproductive rights, environmental justice, consumer rights, and criminal justice. Representation of a Black woman on the highest court of the land is long overdue. Her presence and voice on the Court will undoubtedly enrich its perspective and improve its decision-making.

A Washington DC native who was raised in Miami, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School. Judge Jackson clerked for three federal judges, including Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, whose seat she would fill. In 2013, President Barack Obama appointed her to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In 2021, President Biden elevated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Importantly, Judge Jackson would bring a unique background to the Supreme Court, having spent a significant portion of her career working to ensure fairness in the criminal legal system. She served as a federal public defender in Washington DC, which would make her the first justice since Thurgood Marshall to bring criminal defense expertise to the Court. Judge Jackson also served as a staff attorney and later as a commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

In keeping with the NAACP’s long-standing practice of reviewing the records of all nominees to the Supreme Court, we look forward to reviewing Judge Jackson’s entire record and sharing our views with the U.S. Senate.

As the Senate exercises its “advice and consent” responsibility under the Constitution with respect to this historic nomination, we urge each and every senator to treat Judge Jackson with the respect, dignity, and courtesy she deserves. We note that certain members of the Senate have shown significant hostility toward President Biden’s woman nominees of color — both to executive and judicial positions. We caution those senators that the eyes of the nation are watching. Reviewing a Supreme Court nomination is one of the Senate’s most august responsibilities, and it must do so fairly and respectfully, especially given the historic nature of this appointment.