By Kiara Amaya
On February 25, President Joe Biden honored his promise to nominate the first Black female supreme court justice. Ketanji Brown Jackson has become a new voice for the country. Jackson currently serves as a judge on the U.S. court of appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. If she is confirmed, Jackson would become the third Black person and sixth woman to serve in the nation’s highest court since its initial founding in 1789.
Two years ago when President Biden was merely a presidential nominee, one of the major factors present in his campaign was the promise of nominating the first black woman for the supreme court. This earned the vote of civil rights activists, helping Biden achieve the presidency.
There have been a lot of “impressive firsts” lately for black representatives in politics, especially for women. It is rare enough for a black woman to be raised to power, however, that the actual promise to nominate one had to be made. Black women are still fighting for equal treatment and opportunities in political parties which noticeably tend to lean toward “the educated white man.” Jackson has an extremely educated background and has great qualifications, making her a prime nominee for the supreme court.
However she has met a lot of backlash from the conservative right, such as those asking to see her LSAT scores.
Since 1789 when the supreme court first convened, 115 justices have served. Of these, 108 have been white men, proving that America’s justice system is in dire need of new perspectives to match its diverse population. The population has faced the decisions made by these men for far too long.
“It’s kind of like when the vice president was chosen,” Meleanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable said in an interview for the Washington Post. “You feel the weight of history of this moment and how long it’s been and suddenly realize that it’s really happening.”
When Kamala Harris became the first woman Vice President of the United States, those who value diversity rejoiced. However, Harris being the first female vice president in a country that is 244 years old is not acceptable.
Despite claiming that racism and prejudice has been left behind to create “a more civil and equal society,” America fails to recognize that race is so heavily embedded into history that it simply cannot be wiped away by a few successes.
The same people who for so long have been targeted by systematic racism have fought and succeeded despite history rooting against that. Racism has been a prime influence in the social fabric of our country since its founding.
Some may argue that choosing a Supreme Court Justice should not include discussions of race, and only look at qualifications and education. However, if that is the case, then why has the history of the Supreme Court, even in contemporary times, shown that the majority of people in power are white men? Why is there a lack of diversity in a country that promotes equality for all.
Indeed, it is all about race and representation. While history cannot be changed, the future is still up to us and the voices that are chosen to represent this country need to be questioned.
“In the midst of all that’s going wrong, this is a bright shining moment in our democracy,” Campbell said.
This moment is a true milestone that was completely necessary in the attempt to improve societal systems and learn from the paths others took in history that we should not emulate in order to evolve. Ketanji Brown Jackson is a true role model and inspiration in testament that minorities can and should continue to rise.