Biden chooses historic new pick for Supreme Court

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President Joseph Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman to serve as an Associate Supreme Court Justice on Friday, Feb. 25.

The announcement came one month after Justice Stephen Breyer announced his intent to retire. Over the past month, Biden interviewed candidates who would help fulfill his campaign promise from 2020 to appoint a black woman to the court.

“One of the most serious constitutional responsibilities a president has is nominating someone to serve on the United States Supreme Court,” Biden said in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, March 1. “And I did that four days ago, when I nominated Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. One of our nation’s top legal minds, who will continue Justice Breyer’s legacy of excellence.”

Jackson graduated from Harvard Law School and then served in the U.S. Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and as Justice Breyer’s law clerk. She also served as a federal public defender and federal judge.

“We need diversity in the Supreme Court, especially when it has so much power,” sophomore and president of the Students for Racial Equality Club, Maryam Jalali said. “It’s so important that there is representation of all people, especially in the most superior court of law… It’s crazy how it’s been 223 years since the Supreme Court was established yet there’s never been a black woman.”

With the Supreme Court’s announcement on Monday, Jan. 24 to reconsider Affirmative Action policies in the college admissions process, many officials believe that despite Jackson’s nomination, the court will maintain a conservative majority and ban Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action was deemed constitutional in 2003 after the court decided that favoring groups previously discriminated against did not violate the fourteenth amendment.

“Colleges are looking to enroll a diverse student body, and studies show that student learning outcomes are better in a diverse atmosphere,” college and career specialist Felicia Ng said. “While the Supreme Court decision could change how college admissions are made, it’s not going to change what [students] need to do to get into college… It’s important to focus on the things that are in your control—you can’t choose your high school or your race.”

The argument against Affirmative Action in the Supreme Court is driven by beliefs that universities discriminate against Asian Americans.

“I think race should not be considered in college admissions because it’s unfair,” senior Andy Chen said. “If a person worked really hard to get into the school of their choice, they should be admitted if they were deemed extraordinary by the school. Race nor any other factor other than representation of skill should affect the schools’ admissions.”

Jackson will now enter the Supreme Court process to be appointed. She must go through the Senate Judiciary Committee and win a majority of votes in the Senate to become a justice. Breyer plans to remain on the court until the court’s summer recess, assuming a new justice is confirmed by then.