I Can’t Believe We’re Still Having This Conversation About Ketanji Brown Jackson
Can we just…. not?
As Justice Stephen Breyer prepares for his incoming retirement from the Supreme Court of the United States, his potential replacement is gearing up to take his place — and make history in the meantime. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson began her Senate confirmation hearings on Monday, March 21, and people all over the internet are in awe of her stellar credentials. Yet, they can’t help but focus on how she still seems to be facing heavy criticism from the Senate’s most conservative members. These tweets about Ketanji Brown Jackson’s qualifications make a pretty big point about how Black women have to prove themselves over and over again to be considered “successful.”
“My parents taught me that unlike the many barriers that they had had to face growing up, my path was clearer,” Jackson said during her March 21 opening statement. “If I worked hard and I believed in myself, in America, I could do anything or be anything I wanted to be,” she added.
Looking at her background, it’s clear Jackson has accomplished what she set out to do. As The Washington Post points out, Jackson has held five different roles within the U.S. legal system: After she graduated from Harvard Law School, she clerked for the Supreme Court, spent time as a public defender and sentence commissioner, and then became a district judge and a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In fact, she would be the only Supreme Court justice to have served as a public defender or on the U.S. Sentencing Commission (Breyer, who is retiring, also served on the commission). She would also be one of only two to have served as a district judge, along with Sonia Sotomayor.
Let’s be real: saying that Jackson is more than qualified to be a Supreme Court justice isn’t bragging — it’s stating facts. “Let's not forget, you have nine years of judicial experience, more than four other justices currently on the court prior to their confirmations,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said of Jackson during her March 21 remarks. “Not that we're counting.”
Yet, even with her mind-blowing background, people all over the internet can’t help but notice how she’s still facing heavy scrutiny and criticism. Many Twitter users are pointing out how Jackson’s historic nomination serves as a reminder that Black women are ultimately held to higher standards when it comes to success in politics, and everything else.
Despite her clearly outstanding background, that hasn’t stopped conservative politicians and pundits from trying to paint her as radical or unqualified. Just weeks before Jackson’s Senate confirmation hearings commenced, conservative pundit Tucker Carlson demanded the judge reveal her LSAT scores to prove she was qualified. “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 said. “It might be time for Joe Biden to let us know what Ketanji Brown Jackson’s LSAT score was. How did she do on the LSATs?” he asked. “It would seem like Americans in a democracy have a right to know.”
Carlson’s demands are just a taste of the kind of obstacles Black women have had to face throughout history to “prove” their worth. However, with her background and experience, it’s clear Jackson has nothing to prove to anyone.