Washington, D.C., April 7 – This afternoon, the United States Senate elevated Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the 104th Associate Justice to serve on the Supreme Court of the United State with a 53-47 vote. Republican Senators Collins, Murkowski, and Romney crossed the aisle to confirm Justice Jackson with the entire Democratic caucus voting to confirm. Justice Jackson makes history as the first Black woman and the first former public defender to serve on the Court.
Before being appointed by President Biden to replace the retiring Justice Breyer on February 25, Justice Jackson served as a Biden-appointed Judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals since June 17, 2021. In 2013, Justice Jackson was appointed by President Obama to the District Court of the District of Columbia.
During her time on the lower courts, Justice Jackson has ruled that public school districts must do their due diligence to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, providing students adequate services before placing them in private school. Justice Jackson has also ruled incarceration facilities must address the needs of every prisoner with a disability upon entry. As a public defender, Justice Jackson defended clients with mental health, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.
The Arc wrote an extensive review of Justice Jackson’s disability and civil rights record, saying that “in disability and other civil rights cases, Judge Jackson has shown a willingness to hear claims from injured plaintiffs, a commitment to avoiding imposing unfair burdens on plaintiffs, and has acknowledged the hardships that drove plaintiffs to seek relief. Her unique background as a public defender prior to becoming a judge and her overall judicial record indicates that she is committed to a generally robust interpretation of disability and civil rights laws, fundamental fairness for all, and ensuring that plaintiffs receive their day in court.”
“RespectAbility congratulates Justice Jackson on her history-making confirmation to the Supreme Court,” said RespectAbility’s Policy Director Philip Kahn-Pauli. “We look forward to her continuing to advocate for people with disabilities on the highest court in the land.”