OPINION: Criticism of Ketanji Brown Jackson serves as an example of the degree of partisan politics today

Ketanji Brown Jackson is President Bidens nominee to fill Justice Breyers seat who announced his retirement early in 2022. Jackson is would be a valuable addition to the court, regardless of partisan criticism.

Rose Lincoln / Harvard University

Ketanji Brown Jackson is President Biden’s nominee to fill Justice Breyer’s seat who announced his retirement early in 2022. Jackson is would be a valuable addition to the court, regardless of partisan criticism.

On Feb. 25, President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced his retirement in January 2022. 

Jackson is a textbook Supreme Court nominee with experience as a clerk for Justice Breyer,a law degree from Harvard and currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She is undeniably qualified, with a variety of legal scholars from all ends of the ideological spectrum endorsing her. 

Jackson received support from conservative Judge J. Michael Luttig, who was on the Republican shortlist for the seats eventually filled by Justice Gorsuch and Kavanaugh respectively. 

“[Ketanji Brown Jackson] is eminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” Luttig said. “Republicans, in particular, should vote to confirm Judge Jackson.”

As expected, Jackson has faced partisan attacks from Republicans and conservative media personalities. President Biden’s decision to announce he would be choosing a Black woman as his nominee if elected has led some to criticize her selection. 

“The irony is that the Supreme Court is at the very same time hearing cases about this sort of affirmative racial discrimination while adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of quota” said Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

Tucker Carlson, another conservative commentator, demanded to see Jackson’s Law School Admission Test score. 

“So is Ketanji Brown Jackson — a name that even Joe Biden has trouble pronouncing — one of the top legal minds in the entire country?” Carlson asked. “We certainly hope so … so it might be time for Joe Biden to let us know what Ketanji Brown Jackson’s LSAT score was.”

Comments like these are nothing but thinly veiled racism and partisanship. They may disagree with her judicial philosophy but to question her intellect is ridiculous. She received her J.D. from Harvard while simultaneously serving as editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.

Partisan attacks like these are not reserved for liberal justices alone. It’s important to note that these nominees are chosen by the President to serve on the United States highest court; you don’t turn that down, regardless of the political environment. 

Justice Amy Coney Barrett was nominated at the very end of the Trump administration and Democrats were rightfully angered by the hypocrisy of Republicans who refused to even provide hearings for his nominee, Merrick Garland. Regardless of this, there is no doubt that Barrett is imminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. She was a law professor at Notre Dame, serving on the Seventh U.S. Circuit of Appeals, and was rated “well qualified” to serve on the court by the American Bar Association. Justice Barrett became the fifth woman to be confirmed to the Supreme Court and is the only justice not to have graduated law school from Harvard or Yale. 

Regardless of this she was still lambasted for the way her Catholic faith would affect her decision making. Senators like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) attacked Barrett on this question.

“The [religious] dogma lives loudly within you” Feinstein said during Barrett’s confirmation hearing in 2017 to the Seventh U.S. Circuit of Appeals.

Justices on the Supreme Court pledge to be impartial and Justices from both sides of the ideological spectrum have proven this to be true. 

Jackson has been attacked as being soft on crime because of her record as a public defender, but in the same way Barrett is not swayed by her religious beliefs, Jackson will not be swayed by her history as a defense attorney. Both of these Justices may be influenced by their experiences, but Jackson – just like Barrett – is a brilliant legal mind who will be a valued member of the court for years to come.