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‘You’re My Star’: High Points From Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Confirmation Hearings

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Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings officially concluded this week after four days of lengthy questioning, heated exchanges and other contentious moments.

But Jackson, who was questioned by Republican senators on a variety of issues, was widely praised for her patient demeanor and thoughtful responses.

With the hearings finally over, here are some of the best moments from Jackson’s hearing.

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s family

In his opening remarks, Jackson gave several regards to his family, sharing gratitude and love for their support throughout his extensive legal career.

Several members of his family were present during the almost 22 hours of interrogation he faced.

Her husband, Patrick Jackson, and their two daughters, Leila and Talia, sat in the audience as she answered questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Patrick Jackson, husband of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, and their daughter Leila react as the judge answers a question from Senator Alex Padilla. Photographer: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

Of her husband of 25 years, she said, “I have no doubt that without him by my side from the beginning of this incredible professional journey, none of this would have been possible.”

She also spoke with her two daughters about the challenges of balancing work responsibilities with parenting.

“Girls, I know it hasn’t been easy as I’ve tried to deal with the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I didn’t always get the balance right. But I hope they’ve seen that with hard work, determination and love, it can be done,” Jackson said.

His parents, Johnny and Ellery Brown, and his younger brother, Ketajh Brown, were also in attendance.

“My parents taught me that, unlike the many barriers they had to face growing up, my path was clearer, so that if I worked hard and believed in myself, in America I could do anything or be anything I wanted. be”. she said.

He dedicated a special mention to his father, whom he recognized as his inspiration to enter the legal profession.

“My earliest memories are of watching my father study: he had his stack of law books on the kitchen table while I sat across from him with my stack of coloring books,” Jackson said.

Johnny and Ellery Brown, who have been married for 54 years, grew up in the Jim Crow South. After attending historically black colleges and universities, they moved to Washington DC and worked as public school teachers.

Ketajh Brown, who is 10 years Ketanji’s junior, graduated from Howard University and worked with the Baltimore City Police Department as an undercover narcotics recovery officer.

Ketajh joined the Maryland Army National Guard after 9/11, and later followed in his sister’s footsteps, also pursuing a career in law. Ketajh now works as an associate at the law firm K&L Gates in Chicago.

Ketanji Brown Jackson's brother, Ketajh Brown, and his parents, Johnny and Ellery Brown, sit in the front row during his confirmation hearings.

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s brother, Ketajh Brown, and parents, Johnny and Ellery Brown, sit in the front row during their confirmation hearings. Photographer: Carolyn Kaster/AP

Testimony of Professor Lisa Fairfax

Lisa Fairfax, professor and co-director of the Institute for Law and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law, gave an emotional introduction to Jackson on the first day of confirmation hearings.

Fairfax, who was Jackson’s roommate at Harvard University, shared personal stories from their friendship, including details of Jackson’s personality that were a poignant highlight.

“There is so much more to Ketanji beyond his brilliant mind. There is his wonderful sense of humor, his gift for storytelling, his heart of gold that always shows up, from the first call you make for career advice to the first hit What do you hear?” at the door after learning he was diagnosed with cancer,” Fairfax said.

“You never have to ask; she is always there. Above all, Ketanji is humble enough not to pretend that he knows how to have it all, but he knows how to give it all and what he gives to his family, to his friends, he also gives to the law and to this country. Fairfax added.

Jackson’s message to youth of color

On the third day of confirmation hearings, California Senator Alex Padilla asked Jackson what advice he would give to young people of color who might be doubting themselves.

“What would you say, Justice Jackson, to all those young Americans, that most diverse generation in our nation’s history? What would you say to some of them who may doubt that they will ever reach the same heights that you have? ” Padilla asked.

“Young people are the future and I want them to know that they can do and be anything,” Jackson replied, excitedly.

To underscore her point, she shared a story about feeling out of place as a freshman at Harvard, saying she was very homesick.

“I was really questioning myself: do I belong here? Can I do it in this environment?” Jackson remembered.

But then, he said, a black woman he didn’t know came up to him and told Jackson to “stick it out.”

Then, Jackson said, “I would tell them to persevere.”

Senator Cory Booker’s viral speech

In a widely shared clip, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey praised Jackson and his performance during the confirmation hearings, bringing the judge to tears as Booker declaimed that he had well earned his supreme court nomination.

Booker began by mentioning the problematic line of questioning from some Republican senators, specifically about Jackson’s sentencing in child sex abuse cases.

Booker pointed to a right-leaning National Review column that ripped apart Republican Sen. Josh Hawley’s accusations that Jackson had been lenient as “meritless to the point of demagoguery.”

“There’s something absurd about this that would be almost comical if it weren’t so dangerous,” Booker said.

He went on to name Jackson’s wide range of accomplishments, including balancing parenting responsibilities while working as an attorney in private practice and garnering bipartisan support for his appointment to the DC circuit court of appeals.

Booker also emphasized the historic nature of his nomination. Mentioning black figures like Harriet Tubman and Constance Baker Motley, the first black woman to serve as a federal judge, Booker told Jackson, “Today, you are my star. You are my herald of hope.

“You are worthy. You are a great American… I know what it has cost you to sit in that seat,” he said.


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