DES MOINES, Iowa – President Joe Biden nominated U.S. Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace the retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Jackson has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since 2021 as one of Biden’s first judicial appointments. Before that, she was appointed in 2012 by President Barack Obama as U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia. She has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate three times – twice as a judge and once to serve on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Miami, Fla. She earned her A.B. in Government from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1992 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1996. She also was a supervisory editor of the Harvard Law Review. After law school, Jackson clerked for Justice Breyer and served as a federal public defender from 2005 to 2007.
Before serving on the bench, she was an attorney with Morrison & Foerster LLP, with a practice that focused on criminal and civil appellate litigation in both state and federal courts.
Jackson lives with her husband, Patrick, who serves as Chief of the Division of General Surgery at Georgetown University Hospital, and two daughters, in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, responded to the nomination.
“I congratulate Judge Jackson on her nomination to the high court,” Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a released statement. “The judgments of a justice can affect the lives of every American in perpetuity. It’s critical that any such nominee, including Judge Jackson, receive the most thorough and rigorous vetting. Our review will be as fair and respectful as it is complete and comprehensive. That is what this process demands and what the American people expect.”
“Justices must have an unwavering commitment to the Constitution—including its limitations on the power of the courts. A justice must also be an unfailing defender of the institution of the court, as Justice Breyer has been,” he stated. “As I always have, I’ll make my determination based on the experience, qualifications, temperament and judicial philosophy of the nominee. I look forward to meeting with Judge Jackson face to face on Capitol Hill in the coming days, and working with Senator Durbin to finalize the committee’s initial questionnaire and records request, as is customary in this process.”
Grassley added, “I have no intention of degrading the advice and consent role as Senate Democrats have in recent confirmations. I intend to show up and do the job that Iowans pay me to do.”
Ernst echoed Grassley’s remarks.
“The Supreme Court plays a fundamental role in the defense of our Constitution and in the protection of our rights and liberties. Justices must be impartial, fair, and dedicated to interpreting the text of the Constitution and upholding the rule of law—not bending to the political winds of the moment,” she said in a released statement.
“I will carry out my duty as a United States Senator and meet with and evaluate President Biden’s nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, for our nation’s highest court. Judge Jackson, and the American people, deserve a fair, respectful, and thorough review,” Ernst added.
Neither Grassley nor Ernst voted to confirm Jackson to the U.S Circuit Court in 2021.