ST PAUL, Minn. — President Joe Biden has officially named Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, the first Black woman in American history to be nominated. The 51-year-old is a former clerk to retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.
"For too long, our government, our courts, haven't looked like America," President Biden said Friday. "I believe it's time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation."
For St. Thomas law professor Dr. Artika Tyner, this is especially meaningful.
"During my lifetime, I saw the Minnesota courts becoming more diverse," Tyner said. "I saw it making way for a Judge Bransford, a Judge Alexander, a Judge Lane. So I saw women and that representation of black excellence. I remember even as a young girl, I felt inspired as I read about Justice Thurgood Marshall. I would tell my mother, 'That could be me one day.' So I'm excited that this will help to inspire young people of all backgrounds, of all skin colors, to think about the possibility of what they can do."
It is Jackson's experience that also makes her stand out. She currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C Circuit, which she was named by President Biden.
U.S. Senator Tina Smith released a statement saying in part, "This is an exciting and historic nomination; if confirmed, she would be the first Black woman and first former federal public defender on the Supreme Court."
Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar called Jackson "qualified & fair-minded."
"I am truly humbled by the extraordinary honor of this nomination," Jackson said to the nation on Friday. "I can only hope my life and career, my love of this country and the constitution, and my commitment to upholding the rule of law, and the sacred principles upon which this great nation was founded, will inspire future generations of Americans."
Next, the Senate Judiciary Committee will send Jackson a long questionnaire to begin the vetting process.
She's expected to begin having private meetings with senators next week before official confirmation hearings begin.