President Joe Biden has selected the Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit as his nominee to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Brown Jackson would replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who is retiring from the Court and for whom Brown Jackson served as a law clerk and would be the first Black woman to serve as a justice.
Dean Ted Ruger offered words in his enthusiastic support of Judge Jackson’s nomination:
“I’ve known Ketanji Brown Jackson personally for almost 30 years, and she is exactly the kind of thoughtful and fair-minded judge our country needs today on the Supreme Court,” said University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Dean Ted Ruger. “In 1994 and 1995, we worked closely together during law school on the Harvard Law Review, where she stood out for her brilliance, her ability to work collegially with others, and the high opinion in which she was held on campus. Judge Brown Jackson will bring all of those qualities to the Supreme Court, along with her decades of experience in various aspects of our legal system including two different federal judgeships. She is an independent and ethical public servant who will bring to her new position as a Justice deep respect both for the rule of law and for the people impacted by her rulings. I support her nomination with complete enthusiasm and without reservation.”
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson currently serves on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to fill the seat of former-Attorney General Merrick Garland. Prior to that role, she served on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Brown Jackson has a deep respect for both the rule of law and the people impacted by her rulings. A former public defender and member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Judge Brown Jackson brought to the federal bench her commitment to ending sentencing disparities and promoting equal justice for all.
Among Judge Brown Jackson’s many notable opinions, perhaps most prominent was her 2019 decision in Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives v. McGahn, in which she ruled that even senior-level presidential aides do not have absolute immunity from a congressional subpoena. In that opinion, she emphasized, “Presidents are not kings… . Rather, in this land of liberty, it is indisputable that current and former employees of the White House work for the people of the United States.”
“Judge Jackson gave an incredibly empathetic and inspiring talk to our graduates extolling them to use the resilience, knowledge, and skills they learned as law students to fight for access to justice for all,” said Dean of Students Felicia Lin. Her enthusiasm and graciousness speak to how deeply she cares about supporting new legal professionals, and it was a true honor to have her as part of our ceremony.”
“During my first week of clerking on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, my judge instructed me, “If you ever have a hard time understanding an area of law, check KBJ’s opinions first,” added Nick Hall L’18. “It was astute advice. Sure enough, I found myself reading Judge Ketanji B. Jackson’s rulings regularly, finding them to be clear, well-balanced, and instructive. In all of my encounters with Judge Jackson at the courthouse that year, I found her to be professional, courteous (particularly to law clerks and food workers in the cafeteria), and genuinely invested in diversifying the Bar. Her law clerks were similarly excellent and affable.”
I applaud President Joe Biden’s historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, making her the first African-American woman Justice. Judge Jackson represents the best of America. I am thrilled that future legal scholars and professionals will learn from her pen, and that we all will learn from her example.”
Judge Jackson offered remarks as a speaker at the 2021 virtual Commencement ceremony.
“When the Honorable Judge Brown Jackson delivered the commencement address for the Class of 2021 last spring, she reminded us of our responsibility to not only uphold and defend the law but also to play an active role in promoting access to it,” said Blanche Helbling L’21. “Her unequivocal commitment to ethics, justice, and the rule of law was a strong inspiration to all of us as we set out to begin our careers, and it will be exciting to continue to look to her as a leader as she sits on our country’s highest bench.”