Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed: thoughts from the community


Courtesy of AP News

Ketanji Brown Jackson stands as the first Black woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Jordan Tovar

With Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court comes rejoice from communities of color around the country.

Jackson was confirmed as the 116th justice on the Supreme Court of the United States by way of a 53-47 Senate vote. Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden after current Justice Stephen Breyer announced his intention to retire Jan. 27.

To some, her confirmation is seen as a win for the advancement of marginalized communities in America, as she is the first ever black woman to be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee for Student Government, Alyannah Buhman, a senior majoring in criminal justice, said she was ecstatic when she heard that Jackson had been confirmed.

“I think that’s, one, just such a powerful statement that she is the first woman of color in that position, and not only that, but her being in that position shows that people of color are worthy,” Buhman said.

Buhman thinks people of color don’t necessarily need specific places, but rather need the ability to create their own spaces in positions of powers.

Mack Shelley, department chair of political science at Iowa State, defined, in his own words, that a Supreme Court justice should be able to address the whole spectrum.

“I think to make effective decisions, you have to think about past precedent, and you also have to be able to adapt and think about where the country is right now and where it might be headed,” Shelley said.

On the topic of whether or not Jackson fits this definition, Shelley used a scale of zero to 100 with zero being total originalist, sticking to the constitution as it was written, and 100 being looking totally towards the future. On this scale, Shelley rated her at a 75, being more towards the living constitution side of things.

“I think darn near anybody, including her, who’s risen to this level, could never have gotten there in the first place unless they understood the importance of precedent,” Shelley said.

Jackson will assume her role on the Supreme Court October 3.