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Ketanji Brown Jackson Should Be Confirmed To The Supreme Court

President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court will make the nation’s highest court more reflective of America. The Court will benefit from the variety of professional experiences that inform Judge Brown Jackson’s legal analysis.  

The institution that ultimately decides what our laws mean has never before had a justice with direct experience of how the indigent fair in our legal system. Judge Brown Jackson provides an opportunity to confirm the first Black female Justice and to see the first former public defender appointed to the bench. 

But this is about more than making history.  

Her confirmation is about adding a talented and qualified legal mind to the Court – one who understands the intricacies of the judicial system and is committed to equal justice under the law. 

In her acceptance speech, Judge Brown Jackson made sure to recognize how “her steadfast and courageous commitment to equal justice” mirrored that of Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman appointed to the federal bench. Like Judge Motley, Judge Brown Jackson has committed most of her distinguished legal career to public service. 

During her time in private practice and as a public defender, she displayed an ability to handle a broad range of legal cases. She was a tenacious advocate with a substantive understanding of criminal justice issues that disproportionately impact communities of color. 

Her public defender experience is just one example of how Judge Brown Jackson’s resumé would enrich the Court. She also served as Vice Chair of the US Sentencing Commission until 2014. Her nomination by President Barack Obama received unanimous consent from the Senate and an endorsement from Paul Ryan. She is known for working to find common ground on critical issues with colleagues that may hold different perspectives – a much-needed skill for any appointed Justice.   

Judge Brown Jackson is uniquely positioned, because of her professional experience, to address criminal justice reform issues which further perpetuate racial wealth disparities. She further demonstrated her commitment to upholding the civil rights of Americans during her time on one of the most influential courts in the United States.

As a judge on the US Federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, she issued notable rulings in a variety of cases. For example, in Pierce v. District of Columbia, she ruled in favor of a deaf incarcerated plaintiff who was not offered accommodations such as an American Sign Language interpreter. Similarly, in American Federation of Government Employees AFL-CIO v. Trump, she held that specific parts of presidential executive orders limiting employees’ collective bargaining rights were invalid because they conflicted with congressional intent. She believes that  “courts must apply established constitutional principles to new circumstances.” These decisions, among others, demonstrate Judge Brown Jackson’s ability to apply the rule of law in an impartial and fair manner.

Judge Brown Jackson’s distinguished legal career showcases her commitment to public service. She is extremely qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice and is a worthy successor to Justice Breyer, for whom she clerked. 

Her nomination is both a celebration of the inclusion of historically excluded individuals to influential positions in our nation’s institutions and a recognition of excellence, expertise, intellect and talent.

Rosemary Ramirez is a Senior Program Manager for NCRC.

Photo via Wikimedia Creative Commons.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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