Friday Reads: With Justices for All

Federal Appeals Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Happy Friday Sky Dancers!

I am sorry to be so late today but I had a lot of errands to run this morning!  I even had the topic I wanted to cover today by last night but just couldn’t get to it until this afternoon! I’d like to introduce you to all the wonderful black women Judges that are potential Supreme Court Nominees.

The First on the list is Federal Appeals Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson who replaced Merrick Garland when he became AG. This is an excerpt from an NPR interview with her by Nina Totenberg last June.

BROWN JACKSON: I am a federal judge, which means people generally treat me with respect. But in the evenings, when I leave the courthouse and go home, all of my wisdom and knowledge and authority evaporates. My daughters make it very clear that as far as they’re concerned, I know nothing. I should not tell them anything, much less give them any orders, that is if they talk to me at all.

She’s got all the receipts and still gets “oh mother!” from her daughters!

From WaPo today:

Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She was born in Washington, the daughter of two graduates of historically Black colleges and universities who instilled in her a sense that she could do or be anything she set her mind to, she recalled in a speech in March.

In June, Biden nominated Jackson to fill Merrick Garland’s seat on the D.C. Circuit after Garland was confirmed as attorney general. This fueled speculation that she was on the president’s shortlist for potential justices because the D.C. court is considered the second-most powerful in the country and because high court nominees are traditionally chosen from the federal appeals bench.

Jackson has clerked for Breyer and for two other federal judges. She attended Harvard University as an undergraduate and a law student, serving as an editor for the Harvard Law Review. And her experience as a public defender has endeared her to the more liberal base of the Democratic Party.

From Business Insider:

The US Senate confirmed Jackson in 2013 to the federal trial court in Washington, DC, where she served for eight years before Biden put her on the powerful US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, a court that has served as a launch pad to the Supreme Court.

Jackson’s tenure as a federal district court judge was highlighted by an opinion in which she ordered former Trump White House counsel Donald McGahn to comply with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena to testify as part of the first impeachment inquiry into the former president. In a more than 100-page opinion, she forcefully rejected the Trump administration’s claims that a president’s close advisers are absolutely immune to demands for testimony before Congress.

The decision made waves with a single line: “Presidents are not kings.”

Jackson brings not just experience on the federal bench but a background that the Biden administration has sought out in its push to fill judicial vacancies.

Before she served on the US Sentencing Commission and on the federal bench, Jackson— a Harvard Law School graduate — worked as an assistant federal public defender in the District of Columbia.

“There could not be a better choice than her. She’s extremely intelligent, very hard-working, and — most importantly in my line of work — she’s compassionate and truly cares about the individuals who come before her,” said Jon Jeffress, who worked with Jackson in the federal public defender’s office in Washington, DC.

Next on the list is Leondra Kruger. This is from the WaPo link above too.

Leondra Kruger, 45, is a California Supreme Court justice. At the U.S. Department of Justice, she served as deputy solicitor general, the federal government’s second-ranking representative in arguments at the Supreme Court, before becoming one of the youngest people ever nominated to the high court in California, taking her seat in 2015.

During her tenure in the Office of the Solicitor General, Kruger argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court, according to her court biography.

She has previously rebuffed offers from the White House to take a job in the administration.

This is from the Reuters Tweet above.

Before she turned to law and became one of the youngest justices ever appointed to the California Supreme Court, Leondra Kruger had journalism in her blood.

Kruger, considered a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee for President Joe Biden to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, was editor-in-chief of her high school’s newspaper. Later, at Harvard University, she wrote for the daily student paper, the Crimson. While attending Yale Law School, she became editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal.

The reputation she gained as a young journalist for being thoughtful and careful has followed her to the judiciary, where the 45-year-old jurist has become known for her incremental approach to deciding cases.

Her moderate approach might help her win confirmation in a U.S. Senate evenly split between Democrats and Republicans if Biden chooses her to replace Breyer. Kruger would make history as the first Black woman to serve on the top U.S. judicial body.

Vox has a deep list of impressive black women serving as judges that make for a very long and deep bench. Vox is looking strictly at women younger than 55 which automatically means Lawyer Sharon Ifill — the former President and Director of NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund–did not make their cutoff.

Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi

Here are the justices proposed by VOX.

Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi — whom Biden appointed to the Seventh Circuit, which oversees federal litigation in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin — is a Yale law graduate who clerked for a federal circuit judge before entering practice. Although she was a partner at a large law firm immediately before her elevation to the bench, she spent 10 years as a public defender.

Judge Eunice Lee of the Second Circuit,

Similarly, Judge Eunice Lee, a Biden nominee to the Second Circuit, also graduated from Yale Law School and clerked for a federal appellate judge (Lee clerked for Judge Eric Clay of the Sixth Circuit, who I also clerked for). She has more than two decades of experience arguing appeals for indigent criminal defendants.

Here’s more on Judge Lee from News One.

Christina Swarns, executive director of The Innocence Project, tweeted in support of Lee’s confirmation. Swarns called Lee “absolutely brilliant” and “an exceptional addition” to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. Lee and Swarns previously served together at the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York.

 Judge J. Michelle Childs, a federal district judge in South Carolina.

Judge Michelle Childs is getting a lot of attention for being from South Carolina and championed by Representative James Clyburn. She is still considered a long shot.

 Judge J. Michelle Childs, a federal district judge in South Carolina. Appointed to the bench by President Obama in 2009, Childs was the first Black woman to become a partner in one of South Carolina’s major law firms, according to the New York Times. She also held various positions in state government. Biden recently nominated her to a seat on the DC Circuit.

Childs’s best shot at a Supreme Court nomination stems from the fact that she has a powerful advocate. Rep. Jim Clyburn, a senior House Democrat who played a significant role in helping Biden win the presidential primary in South Carolina that reinvigorated his 2020 campaign, reportedly floated Childs as a potential Supreme Court justice.

The same New York Times article that reported Clyburn’s interest in Childs also mentioned two other names that “have caught the eye of lawmakers” — Danielle Holley-Walker, the young dean of Howard University’s law school, and Leslie Abrams Gardner, a federal district judge who is also the younger sister of Georgia politician and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams.

And, of course, there’s the Fox News Wipipo Outrage from their Talking Dickheads.

This is from the Huffpost link in the above Tweet. It’s written by Lee Moran.

“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah on Thursday pointed out the basic flaw in an argument Fox News personalities are pressing against President Joe Biden’s promise to nominate a Black woman to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have led the chorus of criticism on the conservative network, claiming Biden’s pledge is “beyond extremely divisive.”

But being a Black woman isn’t the sole qualification for the job, Noah noted.

“Biden is going to pick a Black woman who is also qualified,” he said. “These people act like Biden is just going to show up to the mall and be like, ‘Yo, Shaniqua, come with me.’”

“And why not try to make the Supreme Court a little more representative of the country it represents?” the comedian asked. “I mean, their rulings impact the lives of every person in the country.”

From Chait at New York Magazine:

President Biden has not named his choice to fill Stephen Breyer’s vacancy on the Supreme Court, but the first major talking point against her has already emerged: She is the unqualified product of affirmative action.

“Biden has unwisely limited his options by preemptively declaring during the 2020 campaign that his first Supreme Court nominee would be a black woman,” editorializes National Review. “In a stroke, he disqualified dozens of liberal and progressive jurists for no reason other than their race and gender. This is not a great start in selecting someone sworn to provide equal justice under the law.”

The Wall Street Journal editorial page clucks, “Mr. Biden’s campaign promise that he’d appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court is unfortunate because it elevates skin color over qualifications.” Cato’s Ilya Shapiro complained, before deleting the tweet, “Because Biden said he’s only consider black women for SCOTUS, his nominee will always have an asterisk attached.” Even grosser versions of the same basic idea are already emanating from the likes of Tucker Carlson.

Somehow the idea has taken hold that, before Biden came along and junked the standards, nominations to the Supreme Court used to be awarded solely on the basis of merit. The pick would go to the finest and most accomplished jurist in the land, like a law review editorship for the entire court system.

But when exactly did this era exist? Was it before 1967, when the most qualified judges were all white men? No, there was widely held to be a “Jewish seat” and a “Catholic seat” on the Court for decades during that time.

The basis for identity representation on the Court widened after the 1960s. Ronald Reagan promised during his 1980 campaign to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court. George H.W. Bush did not openly say he needed a Black jurist to replace Thurgood Marshall, but it would take heroic levels of delusion to believe Clarence Thomas was selected on the basis of his career accomplishments.

Their hypocrisy and ability to lie know no boundaries.

Meanwhile, I’ll be looking forward to hearing a lot more about these fantastic judges!

Have a great weekend!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

10 Comments on “Friday Reads: With Justices for All”

  1. dakinikat says:


  2. quixote says:

    About all the ZOMG-blacks-women!-where’s-muh-meritocracy noises coming from the sub-adequates on Fox:

    Sociologists have, of course, done research on this. When those determining the merit of applicants don’t know their sex and race (Eg musicians: the audition is held behind a screen; academics: publications and CVs have names switched or identifying info removed; etc) then — surprise! 🙄

    the people hired become magically more diverse.

    So the lack of merit is NOT in the applicants. It’s in the arbiters. At a population scale, nowhere near enough human beings (not just white men) are able to put their prejudices aside and hire the best.

    Any organization that understands the benefit of drawing from the largest possible pool implements methods that make it difficult for those hiring to feed their preconceived notions.

    When it’s a position where anonymity is impossible, like Supremes nominee, then limiting the pool to a specific group is the only way to make sure that the hirers have to hire on merit.

    That’s the evidence-based data. I’m sure in Cucker Tarlson’s case it’s a fact eclipsed by his inability to understand it.

    • NW Luna says:

      All those yammering about picking a judge from the pool of Black women judges are showing they don’t think there are any qualified Black women judges. But then, they’d yammer on about how awful the candidate is no matter whom Biden picked.

  3. dakinikat says:

    I do have one more thing to say to anyone who suggests Anita Hill for Supreme Court Justice.

    • darthvelma says:

      She would have made a wonderful Justice and was more qualified than Clarence Thomas was at the time of his confirmation hearings. She’s certainly more qualified now.

      I guess my real dream is we actually impeach Thomas (mostly for failing to recuse himself from cases where he had glaring conflict of interest but also for flat out lying to Congress during his confirmation). What I really want is vindication for Anita Hill in whatever way will bring her the most satisfaction and happiness.

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. NW Luna says:

    Got my 4 free rapid covid tests today. Anyone else get theirs? Packaging doesn’t say if it’s from the federal free-test program or the state program. Delivered by Amazon and waaaay overpackaged.