Senate hearings are underway this week for President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, The Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson, and educators are playing close attention to the nomination due to her roots in public education. If appointed, Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve.
Before serving her current role as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Jackson’s childhood was shaped by public education. Born in Washington D.C, she is the daughter of two public school teachers; her mother a science teacher in D.C. and a principal of New World School of the Arts, a public magnet high school in Miami-Dade County, Florida; her father a high school teacher and an eventual lawyer for the school board. Jackson herself attended public schools and was affectionately known as “mayor” in junior high school and voted as Miami Palmetto Senior High School Class President three times. In her yearbook, she was voted as “most likely to succeed” and “most talented” and was known for her social diplomacy.
In a school that was roughly three-fourths White, Jackson involved herself in many activities, most notably debate, which became the foundation for her career. “It was my high school experience as a competitive speaker that taught me to lean in despite the obstacles—to stand firm in the face of challenges, to work hard, to be resilient, to strive for excellence, and to believe that anything is possible,” Jackson said in a 2019 speech.
In her professional career of over 600 rulings, Jackson has worked on several education cases involving special education and teacher age discrimination in the public school setting.
With her background and dedication to public schools, it’s no wonder why educators across the country are excited about the potential of Jackson serving on The Supreme Court. According to the National Education Association, “Educators want a fair-minded Supreme Court justice who understands the Constitution and the far-reaching impact that court rulings can have on the people of our country and our everyday lives.”
If approved, Ketanji Jackson Brown will be the 4th woman to serve the lifetime appointment on the U.S. Supreme Court.