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Memphis legal community reacts to first female Black Supreme Court nominee

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 10:38 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson currently sits on D.C.’s federal appellate court, but Friday she accepted President Joe Biden’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America,” said Biden.

Friday, President Joe Biden nominated the first Black woman to the highest court, a promise he first made while on the campaign trail.

“When you hear a president say I want to nominate a Black woman to the supreme court. I’m only considering black women. That’s a power move right there!,” said Alexxas Johnson, president of the National Black Law Student Association chapter at the University of Memphis.

Ironically, on the same day, Jackson was announced as the Supreme court nominee, Johnson was in Atlanta for a Moot court competition.

It’s a competition where law students argue in a mock case that’s landed before the Supreme Court.

She’s done well in these competitions, placing third last year, thanks to countless Black judges right here in the Bluff City.

“I’ve been able to sit in their courtrooms, sit in their chambers and kind of absorb all of this knowledge, and it makes me feel like it’s something I could do one day,” said Johnson.

Johnson says seeing a Black Woman potentially ascend to the highest court in the land gives others hope that they can do the same.

It’s just kind of foreign to us that we have not been elevated to the bench. Why would we not?” asked Circuit Court Division 4 Judge Gina C. Higgins. “If you think in terms of the women, the names that we heard that President Biden was considering for this bench, every one of these women have stellar credentials.”

Judge Higgins says she doesn’t expect any issues for Judge Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing which will fil the seat of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

Memphis Bar Association President Tannera George Gibson released this statement on the nomination of Judge Brown Jackson:

I applaud President Biden for the historic nomination of Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson. Judge Jackson is a stellar choice given her experience as a judge, having tried over 500 cases (civil and criminal), and who sits on an appellate bench. Her first hand experience with wrestling with equality and justice in America is invaluable. Upon appointment, Judge Brown Jackson will have input in matters concerning our most fundamental rights—Voting Rights, Reproductive Rights, Religious Freedom, etc.—with decades’ long, generational effects on some of the cornerstones of our culture. Until now, such decisions were made without the viewpoint and input of a black woman Justice. The appointment of Judge Brown Jackson affords black women a voice in this capacity. While we are not a monolith, having one voice brings far more value than having none. And now, little black girls and young black women will know, without question, that nothing is out of their reach.

Senate Democratic leaders say they hope to have a vote confirmed to the court by mid-April.

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