Biden nominates first Black female Supreme Court Justice

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Photo credit: Shannon Kane

By Farrah Fasse and Shannon Kane

Following the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, President Joe Biden has nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Black woman, to fill Breyer’s spot on the Supreme Court of the United States, according to the White House. On the campaign trail, one of President Joe Biden’s promises was to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, and Jackson’s nomination fulfills that promise. 

Biden’s criteria for nominating Jackson are on the White House website, but social studies teacher Kellie White says that all presidents across the political spectrum have qualities they generally look for when choosing a nominee.

“They look at a list of credentials for their experiences, where they stand on certain issues, the roles they are currently playing in society and then they go and select based on who they think would be the best fit for the bench,” White said.

If confirmed, Jackson will be the first Black female Supreme Court Justice, and White recognizes the significance of the historic nomination. 

“Considering the Supreme Court has been around since the 1800s, the early 1800s, it’s pretty amazing that it’s taken this long,” White said. “Assuming his nomination gets approved, it would be monumental. Finally, you’re going to have someone who represents a large portion of this country who was never represented in that area before, so it’s huge.”

Though she recognizes that there is more governmental representation currently than there has been, sophomore and Black Student Alliance member Meaghan Bland believes the government still needs improvements in having people of color in positions of power. 

“It’s important for people to see people that look like them achieve success in things they would want to be doing, so they know it’s achievable and possible for them too,” Bland said.

The more representation people see in the government, the more likely they are to engage in that government, and the more likely they are to vote and just be a civically engaged human.”

— Kellie White, social studies teacher

In accordance with Bland, Assistant Principal Geoffrey Young reaffirms the importance of having diverse representation in SCOTUS and other positions of power.

“Ultimately, the US Supreme Court seeks to be a legal ‘check’ in the process of governance and justice for this country,” Young said. “It is certainly important for any group that has that kind of control and rulership over others to represent those they oversee. If nothing else, having a person with your experiences on the Court, increases the likelihood that the Court may be exposed to the issues as you have lived them, and their decisions are more likely to be fair and balanced because they have been exposed to your perspective.”

Young says that North’s commitment to diversity goes beyond its efforts to diversify staff. 

“We also support one another in learning about diverse perspectives and diverse needs so that — even if the staff demographics don’t reflect deep diversity — what the staff knows helps it to meet more needs of a broader, diverse range of students,” Young said.

White, Bland and Young all agree that representation in positions of power is important, and White says that government representation encourages civic engagement. 

The more representation people see in the government, the more likely they are to engage in that government, and the more likely they are to vote and just be a civically engaged human,” White said. “Otherwise, if they don’t feel represented, they feel like ‘why will my vote matter to them? They just want me so they can win, but what are they actually going to do for me?’ So, if they see representation, they think, hopefully, progress can be made for that specific group.”