Black Women Leaders Weigh in on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s SCOTUS Nomination

  • Mar 1, 2022
  • Glynda C. Carr, President and CEO, Higher Heights for America
  • The Root

President Biden’s proposal to appoint the first Black woman to the high court has historic implications

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

On February 25, 2022, President Joe Biden made history when he nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Nominated to serve as the fifth woman and first African American woman on the Supreme Court in the history of the United States, Judge Jackson will serve the nation with distinction. This is a historic moment in the court’s progress toward diversity. Judge Jackson brings a lifelong commitment to equality, opportunity, and fairness. President Biden said he wanted a justice with “character” and someone who is “courteous to the folks before them and treating people with respect,” and he found both qualities in Judge Jackson.

We ask you to join us in celebrating this historic moment as we closely watch the proceedings that lead to the confirmation of Judge Jackson as the first Black woman on our nation’s highest court.

Black women are fully aware of what is at stake and how the court affects our daily lives. We have a lot on the line. In a moment where voting rights, abortion access, and democracy itself are under attack, it is critical we have the perspective of a Black woman justice with a commitment to equal justice and human rights on the Supreme Court of the United States. Having a Black woman on the Supreme Court is about far more than sending a message about representation and inclusion; it is also about improving the quality of decision-making and justice that takes place in our highest court.

The following are views from Black women leaders from across the country on the meaning of this historic moment.

Janice L. Mathis, Esq., Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women

“It means we are represented. It means I am represented. It means we are a more perfect union…a still evolving experiment. The law is not just statutes in a book. It is a living breathing organism that changes over time and circumstance. Justices, like all people, bring their experience to the bench. Now, a bit more of our experience will find its way into the law.”

Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of NCBCP, Convener of Black Women’s Roundtable

“Today, as we close out Black History Month, we thank President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, for keeping their campaign commitment by nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve as the first Black woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice. The NCBCP Black Women’s Roundtable is working in coalition with our allies to ensure that this nominee is treated fairly and is confirmed without delay.”

Bishop Leah Daughtry, Co-Convenor, Power Rising

“With the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, another barrier has fallen. After 233 years, the highest Court in the land will take a giant leap toward full representation of all of America’s people at the table of justice. We applaud President Biden and Vice President Harris on their selection of this exceptionally qualified, deeply experienced jurist. Her voice will help to ensure that our justice system reflects the diversity of all of us.”

Star Jones, Attorney, Advocate, Media Personality & Chair, U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

“I’m absolutely thrilled at the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve as our next Supreme Court Justice. It makes me extremely proud that President Biden and Vice President Harris are seizing this moment in history to lead with a vision of America at its best and ensuring that the leadership of our democracy reflects a diversity of lived experiences at the highest levels. As the first Black women to be nominated, the combination of outstanding credentials, character and lived experience of Judge……. ensures that our President has selected a nominee who is more than worthy of a lifetime appointment to our highest court.”

Donna Brazile, Strategist and Political Commentator

“President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have wisely nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. There were lots of exceptionally qualified capable women to choose from, but Biden’s selection of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson demonstrates that there’s no need for America’s highest court to be off limits to Black women anymore.”

Dr. Glenda B. Glover, International President and CEO, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

“The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated applaud the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the highest court of the land. Her appointment is steeped in historical significance and represents yet another milestone in America fulfilling its promise to African Americans who helped build this country. We stand united in the continued fight for Black women to be represented in all arenas important to the progress of our nation and are ready to walk arm-in-arm with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as she is presented to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation.”

Brandi Colander, April Reign, Kim Tignor & Sabriya I. Williams, She Will Rise

“We are thrilled to see the President honor his commitment of creating a more representative Supreme Court. We believe Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is qualified and ready to serve. We stand at the ready to support a respectful confirmation process as we watch her rise.”

Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director, Advancement Project, National Office
“As a Black Woman racial justice lawyer, I’ve seen first-hand the imbalance in the scales of justice. Who writes and interprets our laws matters. Thurgood Marshall mattered. Our first Black woman Supreme Court Justice will matter as she will bring her life experience and understanding of the way race and gender are embedded in our laws. I can’t wait to see her sitting on high with her Black robe!”

Adrianne Shropshire, Founder, Black PAC 
“This is not simply historic; it is a correction of a historical slight. This country has been blessed with an abundance of brilliant Black women jurists, lawyers, and legal scholars, any one of whom could have and should have been appointed to the highest court in the land. Today, we acknowledge that erasure and elevate the voices of Black women to defend our constitution and protect our most fundamental rights. A Black woman on the Supreme Court means having the actual representation that we deserve making large impactful decisions around the laws that define our lives and shape the future of our democracy.”

Tracy Sturdivant, CEO, The League 

“I’m excited about the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. She will be an exceptional addition to the Supreme Court. Her nomination is a continuation of the experience, excellence and tenacity that Black women have contributed to the fabric of our society from across sectors. This year alone, Black women are poised to shatter glass ceilings at almost every level of government and that includes the highest court in the land. But we’re used to breaking barriers. I look forward to supporting the future Madame Supreme KBJ because in 2022, she’s got next.”

Jotaka Eaddy, Convenor #WinWithBlackWomen

“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is an exceptionally qualified jurist who will bring to the Supreme Court her expertise and commitment to the Constitution and values of our democracy. Most importantly, Judge Jackson will bring to the Supreme Court what it has lacked for 233 years – the lived experience of a Black woman. With this nomination President Biden and Vice President Harris will once again elevate a woman, and in this case, a Black woman, to a position that has long been covered by a cement ceiling – today that ceiling is shattered into a million pieces.”

Karen Finney, Strategist, Commentator, Advocate

“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson taking her place on the Supreme Court that first Monday in October 2022 will be one of the most inspirational moments in our nation’s history. Known for her brilliance, integrity, commitment to justice and our constitution, Judge Jackson will expand the diversity of expertise and lived experience on the court to the betterment of representative democracy and justice in America. And frankly, it’s time.”

Holli Holiday, President Sisters Lead, Sisters Vote

“Two years ago, on February 25, 2020, presidential candidate Joe Biden made a campaign promise. He said, ‘I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court, to make sure we in fact get every representation.’ Today, President Biden kept his promise.”

A’shanti F. Gholar, President, Emerge

“President Biden’s pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court is a historic and momentous occasion for Black women and for our democracy. It’s no secret that the courts disproportionately affect women of color, especially Black women, in profound ways, and this nomination will ensure that our nation’s highest court has a voice at the table from one of the populations that its decisions are primarily affecting. Throughout our nation’s history, Black women have been at the forefront of the fight for justice and equal rights. There are countless glass ceilings that still persist, but this nomination will be a major step forward in recognizing the contributions of Black women to a fairer society and for expanding our representation across the board. We’ve long earned our seat on the Supreme Court, and this is overdue.”

Joi O. Chaney, Executive Director, Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy, National Urban League

“It means a Supreme Court that is one step closer to reflecting the diversity of the American Bar and of America herself.”

Kimberly Peeler-Allen, Co-Founder, Higher Heights for America

“Having a Black woman on the Supreme Court means that someone with my lived experience will be at our nation’s highest court and show that serving on the court is not aspirational but actually attainable.”

Sharon Bridges, Chair, Women’s Law Division, National Bar Association

“Relevant Representation in Decisions That Will Impact Me, My Children and My Community!”

Shavon Arline-Bradley, President Delta for Women in Action

“Delta for Women in Action is thrilled by President Biden’s nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. We are proud of this exceptional nominee – who embodies the principles of our communities and brings lived experience. Black women remain one of the most engaged voting demographics, but we remain underrepresented throughout the federal judiciary. The historic nomination of Judge Jackson will undoubtedly make an indelible mark on the Supreme Court for generations to come.”

Roslyn Brock, Chairman, International Connection and Social Action Committee, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

“We stand united in the continued fight for Black women to be represented in all arenas important to the progress of our nation, and we are ready to walk arm-in-arm with this administration every step of the way as some of the very best and brightest Black women judges and attorneys are identified, vetted, interviewed, and presented to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Elsie Cooke-Holmes, National President & Chair of the Board, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

“The members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated applaud President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her impeccable experiences and qualifications make her an excellent choice for this most prestigious seat. It is our hope that this pivotal moment in history will bring the nation closer to achieving greater judicial diversity and we urge the U.S. Senate to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson without delay.”

Glynda Carr, President and CEO Higher Heights

“Black women have shown how powerful our activism can be, yet we are grossly underrepresented in leadership on every level. Since being in office, President Biden has demonstrated that he recognizes the value of diversity in his administration and has been living out that truth in the selections that he makes. Our country’s leadership should reflect the people it serves, beginning with our nation’s highest court, and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be that long-overdue representation.”

DeNora Getachew, Chief Executive Officer, Do Something

“This is an important step towards full equity and visibility for Black women and the vital role they have and continue to play in our democracy.”

Lottie Shackelford, Former Mayor, Little Rock Arkansas

“Having a Black woman on the highest Court in the land means to me, we’ll be a step closer to reflecting the American public. Also, a Black woman is perspective on the Court will be more than symbolic, it will be significant and meaningful to future Supreme Court decisions.”

Michele Jawando, Senior Vice President of Programs, Omidyar Network

“I didn’t realize how much I have limited my dreaming about what was possible, until this nomination. Having a Black Women on the Supreme Court means that those limits about what is actual possible, are gone. It means hope, joy, grace, belief, purpose can be made real. It means the sacrifices of our foremothers wasn’t in vain. It means that the future for my daughters are brighter and bolder than the world I inherited. It means it’s all possible.”

Rhonda Briggins, JD., Co-Founder & Board Member, Vote Run Lead

“A step towards Justice and Equity in this country…”

Lakeila R. Stemmons, National Director, Higher Heights for America
“For so long America has looked to Black women to defend our democracy at the ballot box. We have had to be the moral compass of this country…

The truth tellers and fact checkers.

But as of today, America can look to us to be guardians of our democracy at the United States Supreme Court.”