Ketanji Brown Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson

: Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: Rose Lincoln, Harvard University / Source of Photo:


* Was named to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Biden in 2021
* Was named as a federal district judge by President Obama in 2012
* Was appointed to the U.S. Sentencing Commission by President Obama in 2010
* Has a long history of leniency toward convicted sex offenders
* Defended the rights of Islamic terrorists who had waged war against America
* Shielded a Hillary Clinton aide who had improperly used a private email account for government business
* Supporter of Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, and Black Lives Matter
* Board-of-Trustees member of a school that promotes the tenets of Cultural Marxism


Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., on September 14, 1970, and was raised in Miami. Her father was an attorney for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Board, while her mother was the principal of a public magnet school in Miami.

After graduating from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 1988, Jackson attended Harvard University, where she was active in the Harvard Black Students Association and led a campaign against a student who had chosen to display a Confederate flag outside his dormitory room window. Jackson then worked as a researcher and reporter at Time Magazine in 1992-1993, before going on to attend Harvard Law School where she served as supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review from 1995-1996. Also during her years as a law student, Jackson completed summer associateships at two separate legal firms: (a) Kirkland and Ellis LLP in the summer of 1994, and (b) Miller, Cassidy, Larroca and Lewin LLP in the summer of 1995.[1]

Lenient Treatment of Sex Offenders

In 1996, Jackson anonymously wrote a “Note” for the Harvard Law Review in which she: (a) claimed that U.S. courts tended to treat convicted sex offenders too harshly, and (b) urged judges to “change their analytical framework for evaluating the constitutionality of certain state sex offender statutes.” “[I]n the current climate of fear, hatred, and revenge associated with the release of convicted sex criminals,” Jackson wrote, “courts must be especially atten­tive to legislative enactments that ‘use[ ] public health and safety rhetoric to justify procedures that are, in essence, punishment and detention.’” Arguing that the laws regarding punishment for sex crimes were excessively onerous, she added: “Although many courts and commentators herald these laws as valid regulatory measures, others reject them as punitive enactments that violate the rights of individuals who already have been sanctioned for their crimes.”

During a February 15, 2012 hearing of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Jackson asked James Fottrell of the U.S. Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section Criminal Division:

“I was surprised at some testimony with respect to the motivations of offenders, and that there are people who get involved with this kind of [child pornography] activity who may not be pedophiles, who may not be necessarily interested really in the child pornography, but have other motivations with respect to the use of the technology and the being in the group and, you know, there are lots of reasons perhaps why people might engage in this. And so I’m wondering whether you could say that there is a — that there could be a less-serious child pornography offender who is engaging in the type of conduct in the group experience level because their motivation is the challenge, or to use the technology? They’re very sophisticated technologically, but they aren’t necessarily that interested in the child pornography piece of it? ”

In March 2022, Republican Senator Josh Hawley, a member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, said that Jackson had established “a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes.” In a series of tweets detailing Judge Jackson’s various rulings, interviews, articles, and speeches, Hawley noted the “alarming pattern when it comes to Judge Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders, especially those preying on children.” Hawley’s tweets of March 16, 2022 included the following:

  • “In the case of United States v. Hawkins, the sex offender had multiple images of child porn. He was over 18. The Sentencing Guidelines called for a sentence of up to 10 years. Judge Jackson sentenced the perpetrator to only 3 months in prison. Three months.”
  • “In United States v. Stewart, the criminal possessed thousands of images of child porn and also hoped to travel across state lines to abuse a 9-year-old girl. The Guidelines called for a sentence of 97-121 months. Judge Jackson sentenced the criminal to just 57 months.”
  • “In United States v. Cooper, in which the criminal had more than 600 images and videos and posted many on a public blog, the Guidelines called for a sentence of 151-188 months. Judge Jackson settled on 60 months, the lowest possible sentence allowed by law.”
  • “In United States v. Chazin, the offender had 48 files of child porn, which he had accessed over a period of years. The Guidelines recommended 78-97 months. Judge Jackson gave him 28.”
  • “In United States v. Downs, the perp posted multiple images to an anonymous instant messaging app, including an image of a child under the age of 5. The Guidelines recommended 70-87 months. Judge Jackson gave him the lowest sentence allowed by law, 60 months.”
  • “In United States v. Sears, the sex offender distributed more than 102 child porn videos. He also sent lewd pictures of his own 10-year-old daughter. The Guidelines recommended 97-121 months in prison. Judge Jackson gave him 71 months.”
  • “In United States v. Savage, the sex offender was convicted of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and also admitted to transporting child porn. The Guidelines recommended 46-57 months. Judge Jackson gave him 37.”

Below are additional details about two of the foregoing cases, quoted verbatim from an April 2, 2022 story in the New York Post:

(1 & 2) United States v. Hawkins and United States v. Chazin:

In her 2013 sentencing of W esley Keith Hawkins, who was busted posting videos on YouTube of boys as young as 11 being raped by men, Jackson gave the young gay black man essentially a slap on the wrist — and then apologized to him for it. Instead of the two years of prison prosecutors asked for, she gave him just three months and sent him to a lower-security facility and even arranged special protections for his safety normally afforded cops sent to prison.

“I am not persuaded that two years in prison is necessary,” she ruled, arguing that such a sentence does not account for mitigating factors, including “Mr. Hawkin’s … future potential.” (Further explaining her decision, she disputed the severity of the evidence investigators presented and suggested the more than 600 images they caught him with “don’t signal an especially heinous or egregious child pornography offense.”)

“This is a truly difficult situation,” she told Hawkins, according to page 46 of the transcript. “I appreciate that your family is in the audience. I feel so sorry for them and for you and for the anguish that this has caused all of you.”

Jackson then expressed sorrow over even the light sentence she handed down. “I also feel terrible about the collateral consequences of this conviction,” she said, explaining that “sex offenders are truly shunned in our society, but I have no control over the collateral consequences.”

She offered that “youth and inexperience may have clouded your judgment” and dismissed concerns he was a risk to reoffend. “There’s no reason to believe you are a pedophile or that you pose any risk to children,” Jackson opined. “So It’s not necessary to incapacitate you in order to protect the public.”

Only, Hawkins proved her wrong in 2019 when his probation officer busted him continuing his child porn obsession. Jackson had to step in and essentially resentence him, this time to six months in a “residential reentry center,” according to her court filing. Asked about Hawkins’ relapse at her Senate hearing, she testified she could not recall the matter. But transcripts show that in her May 2021 sentencing of Adam Chazin, who was busted with 48 files of child porn including images of toddlers, she said “I remember Mr. Hawkin’s case well, even though it was many years ago.” Jackson cited her leniency toward Hawkins while giving Chazin just 28 months in prison (versus the 78 months prosecutors demanded).

(3) United States v. Stewart:

A more serious example of recidivism involved another case Jackson heard with a compassionate ear. In 2015, Neil Alexander Stewart, 31, was caught with hundreds of child sex images and videos. He confided to an undercover officer posing as a fellow child predator that he was interested in “willing” children between the ages “5-11” and sought to meet at the D.C. zoo with the agent’s fictional 9-year-old daughter.

In one text cited by prosecutors, Stewart advised the undercover officer how to groom a child to have sexual intercourse, which they could later videotape: “The trick is starting with really small toys and gradually moving up until something is the same size. And vibration.”

In her 2017 sentencing, Jackson gave Stewart 57 months in jail — well short of the 97 months prosecutors had asked for. The judge set aside prosecutors’ warnings that Stewart was a risk for “hands-on” sexual abuse of children and posed a “continuing” threat to the community. At her Senate confirmation hearing, Jackson was asked if she was aware that Stewart had allegedly reoffended.

“Would it surprise you to learn that Mr. Stewart is a recidivist?” asked Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican. “He [has] warrants issued again for his arrest, just three years after your sentencing.”

Shrugged Jackson: “You know, Senator, there is data in the Sentencing Commission and elsewhere that indicates that there are serious recidivism issues. And so among the various people that I’ve sentenced, I’m not surprised that there are people who reoffend, and it is a terrible thing that happens in our system.”

On April 3, 2022, the New York Post reported that according to court filings and transcripts, Jackson in 2014 had imposed a light sentence on a black child rapist named Leo Weekes for violating probation, only to have Weekes commit yet another sexual assault during the time period when prosecutors wanted him to still be incarcerated. Said the Post report:

“In 2010, Weekes was convicted in DC Superior Court of raping his 13-year-old niece four years earlier. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail and four years of supervised probation and was required to register as a sex offender for the next decade…. But instead, Weekes failed to register — lying about his whereabouts by claiming he lived in DC in February 2013 when prosecutors said he was really living with his wife in Temple Hills, Maryland since 2012. He was hauled before Jackson, then a federal judge in DC, on Feb. 19, 2014 for sentencing after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to register.

“Prosecutors asked that Weekes receive a two-year sentence — the low end of the federal guidelines, which ranged up to 30 months — with another five years of supervised release. […] Prosecutor Ari Redbord told Jackson that Weekes had lived ‘an adult life of dishonesty, of fraud, of failing to obey court orders, and that is exactly what he did here,’ according to a transcript of the hearing. Redbord then underscored the seriousness of the rape case […]: ‘This is an individual who, at trial, was convicted of essentially violently raping a 13-year-old child.’

“Jackson, however, appeared unmoved, saying there was ‘no evidence’ Weekes had been intentionally ducking probation officers, though she conceded he had ‘gotten a number of breaks, perhaps undeservedly so’ in the earlier assault case. ‘I do believe that criminal history is having a disproportionate impact on the sentence that the guidelines prescribe in this particular case in light of what you actually did here,’ said Jackson before sentencing Weekes to 12 months, with credit for time served, according to the transcript. He was released five months later, the court documents show.

“Weekes landed on law enforcement’s radar again in June 2015 — when he still would have been in prison had prosecutors gotten their way. According to a DC police report cited by federal prosecutors, Weekes allegedly plied his sister-in-law with liquor while she was babysitting for his wife. He then allegedly started touching her, trying three separate times to pull her leggings down, the report says. On the third occasion, the report alleges, Weekes ‘was able to digitally penetrate her vagina with his fingers and then tried to perform oral sex on her.’ In response, the sister-in-law punched Weekes in the head, stopping the alleged attack. ‘She noticed that the defendant had his penis exposed and was trying to insert it,’ the report continues, ‘but was unable to get close.’

“Weekes was initially arrested and charged with first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances. However, that charge was dropped after his sister-in-law opted not to cooperate with police or testify before a grand jury. […] Prosecutors said Weekes had paid her $2,500 to make the matter go away. He pleaded guilty in DC Superior Court in March 2016 to obstruction of justice and failing to register as a sex offender and was hit with concurrent sentences of five years and six months, respectively. In February 2017, he appeared before Jackson again for sentencing on multiple probation violations.

“Redbord, the prosecutor, […] referred to Weekes as ‘the worst defendant that I have ever seen on supervision’ and asked for two years to be tacked on to the end of his DC sentence.

“Even then, Jackson did not agree, imposing [a] 24-month sentence to partially overlap with his punishment in connection with the assault on his sister-in-law.”

Post-Law School

After graduating from law school with a J.D. degree in 1996, Jackson clerked for Judge Patti Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (1996-1997), and for Judge Bruce Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1997-1998). She then: (a) worked as a full-time associate attorney at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca and Lewin LLP (1998-1999); (b) clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer from 1999 to 2000; was an associate for the Boston-based law firm of Goodwin Procter LLP (2000-2002); (d) was an associate for the Washington, D.C. law firm of Feinberg Rozen LLP (2002-2003); (e) served as an assistant special counsel for the United States Sentencing Commission (2003-2005); (f) was an Assistant Federal Public Defender who represented indigent criminal appellants before the D.C. Circuit (2005-2007); and (g) returned to the private sector to work from 2007 to 2010 for Morrison and Foerster LLP, where her practice consisted mostly of appellate work, including amicus briefs that were issued on behalf of accused enemy combatants in military detention.[2]

Jackson also served a stint as an Advisory School Board member for the since-defunct Montrose Christian School in Rockville, Maryland.

Defending Islamic Terrorists Who Waged War Against America (2005-2010)

In February 2022, The Washington Free Beacon (WFB) reported that Jackson had long been “an active and dedicated advocate for terror suspects housed at Guantanamo Bay.” Though she “has portrayed her work for the detainees as that of a disinterested professional fulfilling an assignment,” added WFB, a “review of court filings dating back to 2005” indicated that: (a) “Jackson was deeply committed to equal treatment for accused terrorists”; (b) “her advocacy was zealous and often resembled ideological cause lawyering, even in her capacity as a public defender” from 2005-2007; (c) “at times, she accused Justice Department lawyers of egregious misconduct with little evidence”; and (d) “she continued to advocate on behalf of detainees and attack Bush-era detention policies in the Supreme Court after she left public service for private practice.”

During 2005-2007, Jackson’s public defender unit was tasked with representing Guantanamo inmates who wished to use America’s federal court system in Washington, D.C. to challenge the justifications for their incarceration. In one of the more notable cases with which Jackson was involved, she represented a Guantanamo detainee named Khiali-Gul, a self-professed innocent who, according to a Defense Department assessment, was in fact a Taliban intelligence officer and the likely leader of a terror cell whose members had carried out a rocket attack against a coalition military base on December 2, 2002. A separate Defense Department assessment indicated that Gul may have met with Osama bin Laden in November 2001. Says WFB:

“In 2005 [Jackson] filed a petition on Gul’s behalf that went well beyond the particulars of his case to broadly assail Bush administration War on Terror policies. For example, she accused the government of pioneering torture tactics used at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq on Guantanamo inmates. ‘Many of the most egregious interrogation techniques used in the Abu Ghraib detention center and other detention facilities in Iraq—such as the use of aggressive dogs to intimidate detainees, sexual humiliation, stress positions, and sensory deprivation—were pioneered at Guantanamo,’ she wrote, by way of arguing her client was subject to inhumane confinement conditions.

“Jackson also criticized the ‘extraordinary rendition’ program, through which detainees were secretly transferred to countries where prolonged detention and torture could be practiced. Gul was never subject to the program, making the criticisms [by Jackson] afield of the dispute. He was ultimately repatriated to his native Afghanistan.

“Later in the course of Gul’s case, Jackson would accuse government lawyers of serious ethical breaches. In 2006, she asked the judge who presided over Gul’s case to sanction Justice Department lawyers over the government’s response to a rash of [three] detainee suicides … on June 10, 2006 … Rear Admiral Harry Harris, who then commanded at Guantanamo, called the incident a coordinated protest act…. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) immediately began probing the suicides, fearing that more inmates planned to kill themselves or attack camp personnel. The NCIS seized personal papers from some detainees, including Gul, to determine the extent of the conspiracy, if any.… Jackson accused the government of violating detainee rights to confer privately with counsel. She also suggested that the government tried to hide the seizure from the court in the first place, and she urged U.S. District Judge James Robertson to impose sanctions.”[3]

As an appeals lawyer at Morrison & Foerster (2007-1010), Jackson had a hand in Boumediene v. Bush, a highly significant 2008 Supreme Court case where she and two other lawyers filed an amicus brief  on behalf of retired federal judges who supported the constitutional right of Guantanamo prisoners to challenge their detention via federal court. The brief claimed that some detention decisions were based on statements and confessions that had been made under the duress of torture tactics implicitly condoned by President George W. Bush and members of Congress.

Jackson also defended the Qatari-born Ali Saleh Kahlah al Marri, a legal U.S. resident and an al Qaeda sleeper agent who in December 2001 had been captured and arrested in Peoria, Illinois, and was then held as an enemy combatant at a naval brig in Charleston, South Carolina. Jackson filed an amicus brief that supported al Marri on behalf of libertarian groups, but the defendant eventually pleaded guilty in 2009 to the following offenses: (a) conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda; (b) attending terrorist training camps; (c) planning chemical attacks on waterways and tunnels; and (d) secretly communicating with other terrorists.

Major Appointments by President Obama

In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Jackson to the United States Sentencing Commission, where she served as a Vice Chair and Commissioner until 2014. (In April 2014, this Commission proposed a so-called “Drugs Minus Two” amendment which lowered the penalties for all drug-related crimes by two offense levels. Affecting an estimated 46,000 convicts, the new rule permitted judges to reduce their drug sentences by an average of 25 months apiece.[4]

In September 2012, Obama named Jackson to become a federal district judge in Washington, D.C., and the Senate subsequently approved her nomination by a voice vote in March 2013.[5]

Shielding a Hillary Clinton Aide Who Improperly Used a Private Email Account for Government Business

In 2015, Jackson issued a notable ruling in a case that centered around the fact that Philippe Reines, who had served as one of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top sides at the U.S. State Department, had frequently communicated with the press via a personal email account rather than a government-issued, highly secured account. When the Internet blog site in September 2012 filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all the emails Reines had exchanged with 34 separate media outlets, State Department officials were unable to supply Gawker with the emails in question because those files had not been preserved on State Department communication systems. In 2015, two years after Reines had left government, the State Department asked him to turn over whatever government records were still in his possession, and he complied. Judge Jackson, in turn, gave the State Department time to sort through those records before being required to turn them over to Gawker.

In a 2015 filing, lawyers for Gawker wrote that it was “difficult to view the timeline of events surrounding the compilation of records responsive to Gawker’s FOIA request as anything short of a bureaucratic and managerial catastrophe.” Thus, those attorneys requested that Reines be required to provide affidavits affirming that he had turned over all relevant documents, without exception. Jackson denied Gawker‘s request, calling it “extraordinary” and claiming that there was no evidence that Reines had acted in “bad faith” by using a personal email address for official government business. Jackson also maintained that the State Department had no obligation under FOIA “to solicit or produce documents in an ex-official’s sole possession.”

Jackson Claims Inspiration from Critical Race Theory, The 1619 Project, & Black Lives Matter

During a January 20, 2020 lecture to the University of Michigan Law School in observance of Martin Luther King Day, Jackson cited Faces at the Bottom of the Well — a book authored by Derrick Bell, the nominal founder of Critical Race Theory (CRT) — as a publication that had inspired and instructed her during her younger days. The book argues that America’s systemic racism essentially consigns black people to the bottom of the nation’s financial and social hierarchy. Said Jackson:

“Professor Derrick Bell, who was a civil rights lawyer and the first tenured African-American professor at Harvard Law School, wrote a book in the early 1990s about the persistence of racism in American life that he entitled Faces At the Bottom of the Well. My parents had this book on their coffee table for many years, and I remember staring at the image on the cover when I was growing up; I found it difficult to reconcile the image of the person, who seemed to be smiling, with the depressing message that the title and subtitle conveyed. I thought about this book cover again for the first time in forty years when I started preparing for this speech, because, before the civil rights gains of the 1960s, black women were the quintessential faces at the bottom of the well of American society, given their existence at the intersection of race and gender — both of which were highly disfavored characteristics.”

Jackson also said she had “drawn heavily” from the many “excellent insights” of another leading CRT advocate: Derrick Bell’s widow, Janet Dewart Bell.

In addition, Jackson cited The 1619 Project of Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times as another inspirational work, and she voiced no disagreement with the Hannah-Jones’ thesis that America had been founded chiefly on a devotion to racism and slavery. Said Jackson:

“The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. […]

“Hannah-Jones (who happens to be a black woman) explains that the men who drafted and enacted the Constitution founded this nation on certain ideals: freedom; equality; democracy. Yet, at the time they formulated these principles, the institution of slavery already existed in the colonies—ever since the year 1619, when 20-to-30 Africans who had been captured in their homeland arrived in the colonies by ship and were exchanged for goods. Jones highlights the irony of the situation even further when she notes that at the very moment that Thomas Jefferson penned the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence, a black relative—a slave—had been brought into his office to serve him. Thus, it is Jones’s provocative thesis that the America that was born in 1776 was not the perfect union that it purported to be, and that it is actually only through the hard work, struggles, and sacrifices of African Americans over the past two centuries that the United States has finally become the free nation that the Framers initially touted.”

Jackson closed her lecture by citing what she called her “favorite civil rights photograph of modern times” — an image of a lone black woman confronting police officers during a 2016 protest over the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two early icons of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jackson Sits on Board of School That Pushes Cultural Marxism on Children

Jackson sits on the board of trustees of Georgetown Day School (GDS), a Washington, D.C.-based private school for youngsters in pre-K through grade 12. The Winter 2019/2020 edition of Georgetown Day School’s magazine quoted Jackson saying: “Since becoming part of the GDS community seven years ago, Patrick [her husband] and I have witnessed the transformative power of a rigorous progressive education that is dedicated to fostering critical thinking, independence, and social justice.”

Promoting the tenets of Critical Race Theory, GDS:

  • declares on its website that “everyone will engage in the work of social justice within all aspects of school life,” and that all board members are required to “actively suppor[t] and promot[e] the school’s mission, vision, strategic goals, and policy positions”;
  • requires its students to read Critical Race Theory: An Introduction;
  • assigns race-essentialist materials for children to read, including: (a) Stamped, (b) How to be an Antiracist, and (c) Antiracist Baby, all by Ibram X. Kendi;
  • offers “anti-racist resources” on its website, including reading materials titled, “Growing up a Black man in America: Why Our Souls are on Fire,” “Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay—Chances Are They’re Not,” “Maintaining Professionalism in the Age of Black Death Is…A Lot,” “White Supremacy Culture,” and “The End of Policing”;
  • offers “resources” for very young children that includes such titles as “The Very Best Code Switch Episodes For Kids,” “Picture Books for Young Activists,” “The Little Book of Little Activists,” “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness,” and “Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life”;
  • recommends a variety of additional “anti-racist resources” that include Ibram X. Kendi’s How To Be An Anti-Racist, Richard Delgado’s Critical Race Theory, Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” and a Kimberlé Crenshaw video entitled “The Urgency of Intersectionality”;
  • boasts that its 9th-grade seminar titled “Exploring Reproductive Justice” is the school’s “flagship social justice course that serves as a launching point for a GDS High School Education”;
  • hosted a September 2020 speech by Dr. Dena Simmons which discussed, as part of a “Black Lives Matter Week of Action” theme, “opening the door for our continued anti-racist work”;
  • used a June 2020 Instagram post to promote a forum that included Ibram X. Kendi, lauding him as one of the “mega-stars in the fight for racial equity”;
  • hosted a 2018 conference where a GDS teacher led a talk titled “Sticks and Stones: Exploring the ’N-Word’ in our School Communities”;
  • conducted a “segregation simulation to give [their] students a tiny peek at the emotional psychological impact of segregation”;
  • mandates “annual anti-racism education for all faculty/staff”;
  • participates in the People of Color Conference NAIS teacher training, which was initially launched by former Black Panther Party member Randolph Carter, and includes lectures that bear titles like “Cultivating Anti-Racists and Activists in Kindergarten,” “Decolonizing the Minds of Second Graders,” and “The White People Way”;
  • has its teachers take part in a “White Privilege Conference” described on the GDS website as “a venue for fostering difficult and critical dialogues around white supremacy, white privilege, diversity, multicultural education and leadership, social & economic justice, and the intersecting systems of privilege and oppression”; and
  • participates in the National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project on Inclusive Curriculum, which seeks to “develop ways of understanding complex intersections between self and systems with regard to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability/disability, and other lived cultural experiences.”

President Biden Nominates Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals

On April 19, 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Jackson to replace Merrick Garland on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, after Garland had become U.S. Attorney General in the Biden Administration. At Jackson’s Circuit Court confirmation hearing in April 2021, Republican Senator Ted Cruz asked her whether she endorsed the concept of a “living Constitution” whose principles and dictates evolve with society’s changing mores and values. “I have not had any cases that have re­quired me to develop a view on con­stitutional interpretation of text in the way that the Supreme Court has to do and has to have thought about the tools of interpretation,” Jackson replied.[6]

The U.S. Senate confirmed Jackson to the Court of Appeals on June 14, 2021, by a 53-44 vote.

President Biden Nominates Jackson to The Supreme Court

On February 25, 2022, President Biden nominated Jackson to replace Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, after Breyer had announced on January 27 that he planned to retire during the Court’s customary summer recess in June or July of that year. With the nomination of Jackson, Biden fulfilled his campaign promise to name the first black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.[7]

At the time of her nomination, Jackson had written only two published opinions as an ap­peals judge, both of which had been released in February 2022.

P.R. Campaign by Jackson

In an effort to influence decision-makers and public opinion at large beginning early in the selection process by which President Biden went about choosing his nominee for the Supreme Court, one of Jackson’s ex-law clerks edited the Wikipedia entries for the two people perceived to be Jackson’s main rivals for nomination — edits that sought to portray those rivals as less “progressive” than Jackson.

Just hours before Biden officially nominated Jackson to the Court, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan, asking for details about Jackson’s work with public-relations operatives Robert Raben and T.J. Ducklo, longtime Democratic Party loyalists who had helped counter and defuse criticisms of Jackson during the selection process.  “It would be unusual, if not unique, for a candidate to enlist political communicators to assume this role,” Grassley’s letter read.

To place the significance of Jackson’s public-relations activities in proper context, The Washington Free Beacon wrote: “It’s typical for judges jockeying for the Supreme Court to mobilize a volunteer network of ex-colleagues and former clerks to background reporters, lobby decision makers, and assist with nomination logistics. Those personnel, given their working relationship with the judge, are best positioned to speak to the judge’s body of work, their personal characteristics, and their likely profile as a justice. [But] PR professionals from partisan Washington, D.C. outfits lack that kind of subject matter expertise and knowledge about the prospective nominee.”

Jackson’s Positions on Various Key Issues


While working for the Goodwin Procter law firm in Boston (2000-2002), Jackson represented a variety of pro-abortion-rights organizations including the League of Women Voters, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Abortion Access Project of Massachusetts. In 2001, she helped write an amicus brief in support of a Massachusetts law that barred pro-life advocates from coming to within six feet of any individual or vehicle situated within 18 feet of an abortion facility.[8]

In 2018, Jackson blocked a Trump-era Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decision to end a $200 million program that made annual grants to 81 separate initiatives whose purpose was to help prevent teen pregnancy. Jackson said her decision was “quite easy,” particularly in light of what she described as “HHS’s unmistakable and inexplicable silence” regarding the reasons why the grants were being terminated in the first place. “This much is clear,” she said in her ruling. “A federal agency that changes course abruptly without a well-reasoned explanation for its decision or that acts contrary to its own regulations is subject to having a federal court vacate its action as ‘arbitrary [and] capricious.’”[9]


In September 2019, Jackson wrote a 120-page ruling for the case of Make the Road New York v. McAleenan, stipulating that the Trump Administration could not, as it had planned to do, expand its use of “expedited removal” to fast-track the deportation of illegal aliens who had been in the United States for any period of time that amounted to less than two years. Characterizing the Trump plan as excessively arbitrary and ill-defined, Jackson wrote: “Government actors who make policy decisions in their official capacities cannot succumb to whims or passions while rulemaking. If a policy decision that an agency makes is of sufficient consequence that it qualifies as an agency rule, then arbitrariness in deciding the contours of that rule—e.g., decision making by Ouija board or dart board, rock/paper/scissors, or even the Magic 8 Ball—simply will not do.” But because Section 237 (a)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states unambiguously that “[a]ny alien who is present in the United States in violation of this Act or any other law of the United States is deportable,” the D.C. Circuit overturned Jackson’s decision in June 2020. Nevertheless, Jackson in September 2019 issued a preliminary injunction to block Trump’s policy on grounds that the Administration had not adequately considered the impact that the policy could have on illegal aliens and their families if they were to be deported.[10]

In a separate case, Kiakombua v. Wolf (2019-2020), Jackson ruled against a Trump Administration effort to better train border-protection agents to detect asylum fraud by illegal border crossers — i.e., migrants who falsely claim to be eligible for asylum by professing their “credible fear” that they would be persecuted if they were to return to their respective homelands.[11] points out that Jackson’s judicial record on immigration-related matters has been not entirely hostile to the enhancement of border-security measures, but instead has been “mixed.” “[Jackson] previously ruled in favor of the Trump administration’s construction of border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border,” says Breitbart, “finding that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary has broad authority to waive environmental laws. Likewise, in Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center v. Wolf, Judge Jackson upheld two asylum-related programs created by the Trump administration to more quickly process asylum screenings from recently arrived illegal aliens while holding them in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody.”

Funding Teen Sex Programs

After the Trump Administration in 2017 cut off $200 million in federal funding to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), which largely ignored abstinence while teaching children as young as ten years old how to use condoms and other contraceptives, Judge Jackson ruled that the TPPP funding had to continue. In April 2018, she said that elected leaders had no right to “suddenly say ‘too bad, so sad’” as a means of denying grants to recipients who had become accustomed to receiving financial assistance. Moreover, Jackson characterized the Trump Administration’s assertion that the government should be able to determine specifically who receives it grants, as “weird.”[12]

Government Bureaucracy & Public-Sector Unions

In 2018, President Trump issued three executive orders designed to: (a) make it easier to fire taxpayer-funded public-sector-union employees for poor performance; (b) require public-sector-union employees to devote at least 75% of their “official time” during working hours to “agency business,” rather than to union-related matters; and (c) make it clear that the government would not negotiate with labor unions on issues where it was not legally required to do so. In August 2018, Judge Jackson issued a 119-page decision blocking the implementation of most of Trump’s orders (American Federation of Government Employees v. Trump). Though she admitted that Trump possessed the constitutional authority to “issue executive orders pertaining to the field of federal labor relations” — and that Trump’s orders did not “specifically and directly conflict with individual statutory prescriptions” (i.e., he violated no law) — Jackson stated that the President’s orders did not constitute “a good-faith effort” because of the extent to which they “diminish[ed] the scope of bargaining”

Forcing a Former White House Official to Testify Before Congress

In 2019, Jackson ruled that the principle of “absolute immunity” did not shield former Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn from being forced to testify before Congress about the Robert Mueller investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian operatives. “The primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history,” said Jackson, “is that Presidents are not kings. . . . This means that they do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control. Rather, in this land of liberty, . . . current and former employees of the White House work for the People of the United States.” Jackson did not, however, issue a ruling regarding executive privilege, meaning that former Trump officials could decline to answer certain questions when testifying.

Jackson’s Senate Confirmation Hearings

Judge Jackson’s Senate confirmation hearings began on March 21, 2022. Following are some key remarks made by Jackson, and some noteworthy exchanges she had with the senators who questioned her.

Jackson Says She Cannot Define What a Woman Is

Jackson’s status as a “black woman” was central to President Biden’s decision to nominate her to the Supreme Court. Moreover, Jackson specifically used the words “woman” or “women” many times in the course of her testimony during the first two days of her Senate confirmation hearings. The Federalist enumerated some of those references as follows:

  • “I stand on the shoulders of so many who have come before me, including Judge Constance Baker Motley, who was the first African-American woman to be appointed to the bench.”
  • Roe and Casey are the settled law of the Supreme Court concerning the right to terminate a woman’s pregnancy.”
  • “After Casey, the court has determined not so much that the right to terminate a woman’s pregnancy is fundamental.”
  • “I somehow still have nightmares about the main witness, the woman I mentioned earlier.”
  • “I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity and to be the first and only black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.”
  • “Because I am a woman, because I am a black woman, all of those things people have said have been really meaningful to them.”
  • “Having meaningful numbers of women and people of color, I think matters.”
  • “I gave a speech about black women in the civil rights movement, most of the speech if not all of the speech was focused on African American women, their contributions to the civil rights movement, unsung contributions in many cases, and then some of the more recent African American women who have made claims, who have done things in our society.”
  • “We believe that we have a government of laws and not men. And yet there are men and women who are acting as judges in the context of our system.”
  • “I know so many young women, in this country especially, who have small kids who have these momentous events and have to make a choice.”
  • After Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn questioned Jackson about an opinion she had signed describing pro-life activists as “a hostile, noisy crowd of ‘in-your-face’ protesters,” Jackson issued a reply that made 6 additional references to a “woman” or “women.”

The Federalist also cited more than 30 instances where Jackson had made references to a “woman” or “women” in judicial opinions she had written.

The premise that it is possible to define the terms “woman” or “women,” is foundational to all of Jackson’s aforementioned uses of those words. But because those words are politically charged vis-a-vis transgender issues, Jackson claimed to be unable to define exactly what a woman is, when she was asked to do so by senators in her confirmation hearings.

On March 22, for instance, Senator Marsha Blackburn questioned Jackson about United States v. Virginia, a 1996 case in which the Supreme Court had ruled that the Virginia Military Institute’s prohibition on female students constituted a violation of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. Blackburn quoted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as having written, regarding that case: “Supposed inherent differences are no longer accepted as a ground for race or national origin classifications. Physical differences between men and women, however, are enduring. The two sexes are not fungible. A community made up exclusively of one sex is different from a community composed of both.” The senator then asked, “Do you agree with Justice Ginsburg that there are physical differences between men and women that are enduring?” Jackson replied, “Senator, respectfully, I am not familiar with that particular quote or case, so it’s hard for me to comment as to whether or not–”

Blackburn then interrupted Jackson, and the following exchange took place:

BLACKBURN: I’d love to get your opinion on that, and you can submit that. Do you interpret Justice Ginsburg’s meaning of men and women as male and female?

JACKSON: Again, because I don’t know the case, I do not know how I’d interpret it. I’d need to read the whole thing.

BLACKBURN: Ok. And can you provide a definition for the word “woman”?

JACKSON: Can I provide a definition?


JACKSON: No. I can’t.

BLACKBURN: You can’t?

JACKSON: Not in this context. I’m not a biologist.

BLACKBURN: So, you believe the meaning of the word “woman” is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?

JACKSON: Senator, in my work as a judge, what I do is I address disputes. If there’s a dispute about a definition, people make arguments, and I look at the law and I decide.

BLACKBURN: The fact that you can’t give me a straight answer about something as fundamental as what a woman is underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about.

Refusing to Disavow Supreme Court-Packing 

During Jackson’s confirmation hearing on March 22, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley asked her what she thought about the idea of expanding the Supreme Court and packing it with additional appointees whose political and ideological orientation was consistent with that of the sitting U.S. President — a scheme that numerous congressional Democrats had publicly supported in recent times. But Jackson refused to take a position on court-packing, explaining that she preferred not to answer Grassley’s question because she was determined to stay in her “lane.” 

Jackson Is Asked about Critical Race Theory & The 1619 Project

During the confirmation hearing of March 22, 2022, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, citing a passage in which Jackson had once praised The 1619 Project, asked: “Are you aware that since the 1619 project came out, that it has been roundly refuted by very respected historians … and indeed it was so thoroughly refuted that The New York Times quietly altered the digital version to remove references to 1619 as the year of America’s true founding and the moment America began? Were you aware of that?” “I was not,” Jackson replied.

Shortly thereafter, Cruz said: “The 1619 Project is closely intertwined with a movement called Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory, as you know, originated at your and my alma mater, at the Harvard Law School. In your understanding, what does Critical Race Theory mean? What is it?”

Jackson responded: “In my understanding, Critical Race Theory is, it is an academic theory that is about the ways in which race interacts with various institutions. It doesn’t come up in my work as a judge. It’s never something that I’ve studied or relied on, and it wouldn’t be something that I would rely on if I was on the Supreme Court.”

Cruz then told Jackson that he found her professed lack of familiarity with the concept of Critical Race Theory dubious, in light of the fact that in a 2015 speech, she herself had stated that her sentencing work as a judge was “just plain interesting because it melds together myriad types of law, criminal law and of course, constitutional law, critical race theory.”

When Cruz asked Jackson if Critical Race Theory was taught at Georgetown Day School, where she herself was a Board of Trustees member, she replied: “I don’t know because the board is not, the board does not control the curriculum.”

Jackson Is Asked about Abortion-Related Matters

During the confirmation hearing of March 22, 2022, Republican Senator John Kennedy had the following exchange with Jackson:

KENNEDY: “When does life begin, in your opinion?”

JACKSON: “Senator, I don’t know” (laughing uncomfortably).

KENNEDY: “Ma’am?”

JACKSON: “I don’t know.”

KENNEDY: “You have a belief?”

JACKSON: “I have personal, religious and otherwise beliefs that have nothing to do with the law in terms of when life begins.”

KENNEDY: “Do you have a personal belief, though, about when life begins?”

JACKSON: “I have a religious view —”

KENNEDY: “A religious belief?” (Kennedy interjected)

JACKSON: “— that I set aside when I am ruling on cases.”

KENNEDY: “Okay. When does equal protection of the laws attach to a human being?”

JACKSON: “Well, Senator, I believe the Supreme Court — actually — actually I don’t know the answer to that question. I’m sorry. I don’t.”

On March 23, 2022, Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas questioned Jackson about viability, or the point at which a gestating baby could survive outside the mother’s womb. “What does viability mean when it comes to an unborn child, in your understanding?” asked Cornyn. “I hesitate to speculate,” Jackson replied. “I know that it is a point in time that the court has identified in terms of when the standards that apply to regulation of the right.” After Cornyn continued to press the issue, Jackson said: “I am not a biologist, I haven’t studied this. What I know is that the Supreme Court has tests and standards that it has applied when it evaluates regulation of the right of a woman to terminate their pregnancy. The court has announced that there is a right to terminate up to the point of viability, subject to the framework in Roe and Casey, and there is a pending case right now that is addressing these issues.”

Cornyn also asked Jackson, “Is it your understanding, under the current precedent of the Supreme Court, that there’s a right to abortion up to and including the time of delivery of the child?” Jackson replied: “Senator, I don’t know actually. The Supreme Court, in every case, is looking at individual regulations of the government related to individual rights and I am not aware of the court having made a pronouncement about whether or not regulation can extend all the way up until birth.”

On March 23 as well, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina asked Jackson: “Can an unborn child feel pain at 20 weeks in the birthing process?” “Senator, I don’t know,” Jackson answered. Graham then followed up: “Are you aware of the fact that anesthesia is provided to the unborn child of that time period if there’s an operation to save the baby’s life because they can, in fact, feel pain?” Jackson told Graham that she was not aware of that fact.

Jackson Is Asked About Her Leniency Toward Sex Offenders

During the Senate confirmation hearing of March 23, 2022, Jackson was about the seemingly light sentences she had given to child pornographers in several cases.

The questioning became particularly contentious when Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked why Jackson had not used sentencing enhancements to increase the penalties for those who had used computers to collect, view, and distribute child pornography.

Jackson answered: “At the [time] that the guidelines were created for child pornography, this crime was primarily being committed by people who were literally mailing 1, 2, 5, 10, 100 photos at a time. As a result, the Commission determined in the guidelines that it was a substantial aggravating factor, if the facts of the case demonstrated that someone had been distributing hundreds of images. Because what that meant was over this long or maybe it was a long period of time, they had collected one photo at a time, they amassed it, they had potentially mailed one at a time, and that showed really aggravated, terrible conduct. I’m not saying as a baseline it’s not terrible, it’s all terrible. What we’re doing is we’re differentiating, among defenses. So in a world when the mail is used for the purpose of distribution, it really matters whether the person has distributed one or five or a thousand. And so the guidelines says, ‘You know what, we are going to create a person whose distributed a thousand a lot worse, because that shows that this person is really engaged in this really horrible behavior.’ In comes the internet. On the internet, with one click, you can receive, you can distribute tens of thousands. You can be doing this for 15 minutes, and all of a sudden, you are looking at 30, 40, 50 years in prison.”

“Good, good,” Graham interrupted. “Absolutely good, I hope you are. I hope you go to jail for 50 years, if you’re on the internet trolling for images of children and sexual exploitation— so you don’t think that’s a bad thing? I think that’s a horrible thing.”

Jackson continued: “Senator, all I’m trying to explain is that our sentencing system, the system that Congress has created, the system that the Sentencing Commission is the steward of, is a rational one. It’s a system that is designed to help judges do justice in these terrible circumstances by eliminating unwarranted disparities, by ensuring that the most serious defendants get the longest periods of time, and when modes of commission of the crime change, such that in two seconds, someone can receive or distribute thousands of images. That’s no longer a— and this is what the commission found in their studies— an indicator of a person who, relative to other people, has committed this crime in a more aggravated way. What we’re trying to do is be rational in our dealing with some of the most horrible kind.”

Graham retorted: “It is not rational to take the venue of choice of child pornographers, a computer that has 85 million images on it, and not consider that as feeding the beast. We’re trying to get people to stop this crap. So when you troll on the internet, you pull down thousands of images of children from the internet. I want you to stop that. I want people to go to jail who do that because you’re feeding the beast…. I think the best way to deter crime when it comes to child pornography, is you should lower the boom on anybody who goes on the internet and pulls out these images for their pleasure.”

Jackson responded: “Senator, every person in all of these charts and documents, I sent to jail because I know how serious this crime is. Every person, I discussed the harm of these terrible, terrible images to the victims who are portrayed in them. I talked about what this crime does to the children who are being abused in these photos and on the other side of their terms of imprisonment, I ensured that they were facing lengthy periods of supervision and restrictions on their computer use so they could not do this sort of thing. Again, that’s what Congress has required of judges. And that’s what I did in every case.”

Graham replied: “You always were under the recommendation of the prosecutor, many times the parole people, and to be honest with you Judge, a 32-year-old man who sent an image of his own 10-year-old daughter, you substantially reduced, not only to the guidelines, but the recommendation. And all I can say is that your view of how to deter child pornography is not my view. I think you’re doing it wrong and every judge who does what you’re doing is making it easier for the children to be exploited. If you’re on a computer right now looking at a kid in a sexually compromising situation and you get caught. I hope nobody gives you a break because you use the computer.”

Jackson Refuses to Say That Americans Have God-Given Natural Rights

In a set of written questions that Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas submitted to Jackson during her confirmation hearings, Cruz wrote: “Please explain, in your own words, the theory prevalent among members of the Founding Fathers’ generation that humans possess natural rights that are inherent or inalienable.” Jackson replied: “The theory that humans possess inherent or inalienable rights is reflected in the Declaration of Independence, which states: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The very next item on Cuz’s list of written questions asked: “Do you hold a position on whether individuals possess natural rights, yes or no?” Jackson answered: “I do not hold a position on whether individuals possess natural rights.”

In an April 4, 2022 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said the following about how Jackson had answered Cruz’s questions: “I take issue with this, as natural rights are basic to our constitutional system and principles of limited government. Under our Constitution, we are endowed by our Creator — well, I don’t have to repeat that. All other rights are reserved to the people under the Tenth Amendment, recognizing the principle of limited government is what makes America the exceptional government compared to all others, and obviously sets our Constitution apart from all others.”

Supreme Court Confirmation

The U.S. Senate confirmed Jackson to the Supreme Court on April 7, 2022, by a vote of 53-47. Three Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — joined all 50 Democrats in voting to confirm her.

Oath of Office

Jackson was officially sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice on June 30, 2022, replacing Justice Stephen Breyer, whose retirement took effect at noon that same day.

Claiming That an Originalist Interpretation of the Constitution Endorses Race-Conscious Policies

In October 2022, Jackson made headlines with her remarks about how the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ought to affect the case of Merrill v. Milligan, which centered around the state of Alabama’s 2021 congressional redistricting plan. That plan was challenged in court by a group of leftwing voting-rights who, as plaintiffs, claimed that it violated Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA), which for the preceding 56 years had prohibited the use of racially discriminatory voting practices anywhere in the U.S.  Specifically, the plaintiffs complained about the fact that only one of Alabama’s seven congressional districts — i.e., 14% of the state’s districts — had a majority-black population, while fully 27% of the state’s residents were black. From there, the plaintiffs argued that Alabama, for the sake of racial equity, should reconfigure its existing seven districts in a manner that would result in five majority-white districts and two “majority-minority” districts (rather than one).

Alabama countered by arguing that any initiative to redraw its congressional districts in order to carve out an additional “majority-minority” district, would by definition violate the  Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, because such a measure would require state legislators to illegally make race the primary factor in determining how the boundaries of each district should be configured.

In January 2022, a panel of three federal judges ordered Alabama to draw a new congressional map with two majority-black districts, concluding that the state’s original plan—which contained only one such district—likely violated Section 2 of the VRA. But a divided Supreme Court subsequently put that order on hold in February 2022 and scheduled the case — known as Merrill v. Milligan — for oral arguments slated for October.

On October 4, 2022 — Jackson’s second day of activity as an active member of the Supreme Court — Merrill v. Milligan came before the Court. During oral arguments, Jackson claimed that since the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments — known collectively as the post-Civil War Amendments — were intended specifically to benefit black former slaves, an originalist interpretation of those amendments would lead one to the logical conclusion that it was justifiable to use “race-conscious” policies aimed at promoting equity. “I don’t think we can assume that just because race is taken into account, that that necessarily creates an equal protection problem,” said Jackson. “Because I understood,” she added, “that we looked at the history and traditions of the Constitution and what the framers and founders thought about, and when I drilled down to that level of analysis, it became clear to me that the framers themselves adopted the equal protection clause, the 14th Amendment, [and] the 15th Amendment in a race-conscious way.” said of Jackson’s reasoning: “That defies the common understanding of the Equal Protection Clause, and Alabama pointed out that the way the 14th Amendment was meant to help black people was by ending racial discrimination, not by creating new race-based policies.”

Manhattan Institute senior fellow and director of constitutional studies Ilya Shapiro told the Washington Examiner on October 5, 2022, that while the “freed slaves were a large component of who[m] the Civil Rights Act of [18]66 and the 14th Amendment were meant to help,” “I’m not sure the evidence is as clear cut as Justice Jackson made it out to be that it was because they were black, rather than because they were being treated differently or because of their disadvantage from having been enslaved.”

Jackson Speaks Much More Than any of Her Fellow Justices During Her First Week on the Bench

Jackson was exceptionally vocal during her first week on the bench (October 3-7, 2022) hearing oral arguments as a Supreme Court Justice. In all, she spoke a total of 4,568 words spoken over the course of nearly six hours — approximately 50% more words than any of her eight fellow justices.

Jackson Dissents from the Court’s Decision to Strike down Affirmative Action

On June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court issued its decision regarding a pair of lawsuits that had been filed in 2014 against Harvard and the University of North Carolina (UNC) by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) — a coalition of more than 20,000 prospective college students and their parents – to challenge the use of affirmative action (racial preferences) in the college admissions process. At issue, specifically, was whether: (a) Harvard University’s admissions office was discriminating against applicants of Asian heritage, who were not being admitted at rates commensurate with their academic qualifications, and (b) the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was giving preference in admissions to black, Hispanic, and Native American applicants over their white and Asian counterparts.

“Harvard’s and UNC’s admissions programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” the Supreme Court ruled on June 29. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, and he was joined in the verdict by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. “Many universities,” wrote Roberts, “have for too long … concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.”

Jackson dissented from the majority opinion along with Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Some noteworthy excerpts from Jackson’s dissent included the following:

  • “With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat. But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.”
  • “The best that can be said of the majority’s perspective is that it proceeds (ostrich-like) from the hope that preventing consideration of race will end racism.”
  • “The Court has come to rest on the bottom-line conclusion that racial diversity in higher education is only worth potentially preserving insofar as it might be needed to prepare Black Americans and other underrepresented minorities for success in the bunker, not the boardroom (a particularly awkward place to land, in light of the history the majority opts to ignore).”
  • “The takeaway is that those who demand that no one think about race (a classic pink-elephant paradox) refuse to see, much less solve for, the elephant in the room— the race-linked disparities that continue to impede achievement of our great Nation’s full potential.”
  • “It would be deeply unfortunate if the Equal Protection Clause actually demanded this perverse, ahistorical, and counterproductive outcome. To impose this result in that Clause’s name when it requires no such thing, and to thereby obstruct our collective progress toward the full realization of the Clause’s promise, is truly a tragedy for us all.”

Claiming That the Government Should Be Able to Encourage or Require Censorship 

In a March 18, 2024 Supreme Court hearing, Jackson addressed Louisiana Solicitor General Benjamin Aguiñaga, whose state had joined Missouri in suing the federal government because of the efforts the government had made, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to censor speech on social media platforms — ostensibly to prevent the spread of misinformation and disinformation regarding the transmission and treatment of the deadly coronavirus. Jackson voiced her concern that in such cases, the First Amendment right to free speech was “hamstringing the government in significant ways, in the most important time periods.”

Jackson had previously postulated a hypothetical situation where social media platforms were permitting the escalation of a dangerous trend in which children were being encouraged to jump out of windows “at increasing elevations.” Regarding such a circumstance, she asked whether it might be prudent to permit government authorities to “encourage social media platforms to take down the information that is instigating this problem.”

When Aguiñaga suggested that the government could use its “bully pulpit” to counter allegedly faulty information but should not be able to encourage or coerce social media companies to scrub it from their platforms, Jackson objected, saying that in some situations the government had a duty to “encourage or require this kind of censorship.”

“Some might say that the government actually has a duty to take steps to protect the citizens of this country,” Jackson told Aguiñaga, “and you seem to be suggesting that that duty cannot manifest itself in the government encouraging or even pressuring platforms to take down harmful information. I’m really worried about that, because you’ve got the First Amendment operating in an environment of threatening circumstances from the government’s perspective, and you’re saying the government can’t interact with the source of those problems.”

Additional Information on Jackson

Jackson serves on Harvard University’s Board of Overseers, one of the school’s two governing boards.

She is married to Georgetown surgeon Patrick Jackson and is related by marriage to Paul Ryan, the former Republican Speaker of the House.


  1. Ketanji Brown Jackson (Influence Watch);
    Who Is Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Ben Johnson, Daily Wire);
    Ketanji Brown Jackson: Five Things To Know About Biden’s SCOTUS Pick (by Ian Haworth, Daily Wire, February 25, 2022);
    Who Is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Carrie Campbell Severino, National Review, March 30, 2021;
    United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees
  2. Ketanji Brown Jackson (Influence Watch);
    United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees;
    Who Is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Carrie Campbell Severino, National Review, March 30, 2021
  3. In December 2014, Gul was repatriated to Afghanistan under an executive order from then-president Barack Obama, even though a 2008 assessment warned that he would likely resume his extremist activities if not closely monitored.
  4. Who Is Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Ben Johnson, Daily Wire);
    Federal Prisons Could Release 1,000 Times More Drug Offenders Than Obama Did (By Beth Schwartzapfel, The Marshall Project, July 23, 2015);
    Frequently Asked Questions: Retroactive Application of the 2014 Drug Guidelines Amendment
  5. Ketanji Brown Jackson (Influence Watch);
    Ketanji Brown Jackson: Five Things To Know About Biden’s SCOTUS Pick (by Ian Haworth, Daily Wire, February 25, 2022);
    Jackson, Ketanji Brown (Federal Judicial Center);
    Who Is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Carrie Campbell Severino, National Review, March 30, 2021;)
  6. Ketanji Brown Jackson (Influence Watch);
    Ketanji Brown Jackson: Five Things To Know About Biden’s SCOTUS Pick (by Ian Haworth, Daily Wire, February 25, 2022);
    Jackson, Ketanji Brown (Federal Judicial Center);
    Who Is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Carrie Campbell Severino, National Review, March 30, 2021
  7. Letter to President Biden from Justice Steven Breyer (January 27, 2022);
    Who Is Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Ben Johnson, Daily Wire);
    Biden nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson to be first black woman to sit on Supreme Court (By Jake Tapper, Ariane de Vogue, Jeff Zeleny, Betsy Klein and Maegan Vazquez, CNN, February 25, 2022)
  8. Who Is Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Ben Johnson, Daily Wire);
    Ketanji Brown Jackson: Five Things To Know About Biden’s SCOTUS Pick (by Ian Haworth, Daily Wire, February 25, 2022)
  9. Letter to President Biden from Justice Steven Breyer (January 27, 2022);
    Who Is Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Ben Johnson, Daily Wire);
    Biden nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson to be first black woman to sit on Supreme Court (By Jake Tapper, Ariane de Vogue, Jeff Zeleny, Betsy Klein and Maegan Vazquez, CNN, February 25, 2022)
  10. Who Is Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Ben Johnson, Daily Wire);
    Profile of a potential nominee: Ketanji Brown Jackson (by Amy Howe, SCOTUSblog, February 1, 2022);
    McGuire v. Reilly (Casetext, 2001);
    Biden to Nominate Pro-Abortion Radical Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court (by Jordan Boyd, The Federalist, February 25, 2022)
  11. Ketanji Brown Jackson (Influence Watch);
    The Real Reason the Trump Administration Is Constantly Losing In Court (by Fred Barbash and Deanna Paul, Washington Post, March 19, 2019)
  12. Who Is Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Ben Johnson, Daily Wire);
    United States District Court For The District Of Columbia (Make The Road New York vs. Kevin McAleenan, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, 2019);
    United States Court of Appeals (Make The Road New York vs. Chad F. Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, 2020);
    United States District Court For The District Of Columbia (Make The Road New York vs. Kevin McAleenan, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, 2019);
    Biden’s SCOTUS Nominee Helped Strike Down Trump’s Border Controls (By John Binder, Breitbart, February 25, 2022)
  13. Biden’s SCOTUS Nominee Helped Strike Down Trump’s Border Controls (By John Binder, Breitbart, February 25, 2022);
    Kiakombua v. Wolf (United States District Court For The District Of Columbia, 2020);
    Kiakombua v. Wolf: Protecting the credible fear process for seeking asylum (International Refugee Assistance Project, 2021)
  14. Who Is Ketanji Brown Jackson? (by Ben Johnson, Daily Wire);
    Trump Cuts Funding To Teen Pregnancy Programs, The Left Goes Wild (By Paul Bois Daily Wire, August 11, 2017)
    Healthy Futures of Tex. v. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs. (Casetext, 2020);
    The Real Reason the Trump Administration Is Constantly Losing In Court (by Fred Barbash and Deanna Paul, Washington Post, March 19, 2019)

Additional Resources:

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Favorite Critical Race Theory Book Rejects the Constitution
By Daniel Greenfield
March 25, 2022

Judge Jackson: A Big Win for the Radical Left
By Joseph Klein
March 25, 2022

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