Senate Confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson to U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit

June 15, 2021 by Tom Ramstack
U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. (Photo from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia)

WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday in what could be a move for her toward the Supreme Court.

Jackson, 50, was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by President Barack Obama in 2013. She won easy confirmation in the Senate.

The nomination by President Joe Biden to the appellate court fulfills part of his pledge to appoint more women and minorities to the federal bench. He also said he wanted to be the first president to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, which puts Jackson on his short list.

Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. but raised in Florida. She attended Harvard Law School, where she was editor of the law review.

Prior to becoming a federal judge in 2013, Jackson worked in private legal practice and as a federal public defender. She served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 2010 until 2014, where she participated in guideline revisions that reduced sentences for some crack cocaine offenses.

Among her most notable rulings:

  • On November 23, 2018, Jackson held that 40 lawsuits based on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 should be brought in Malaysia.
  • On September 4, 2019, in Center for Biological Diversity v. McAleenan, Jackson held that Congress had stripped federal courts of authority to hear environmental challenges to the Trump administration’s construction of a wall along the Mexican border.
  • On September 29, 2019, Jackson issued an injunction in Make The Road New York v. McAleenan that blocked expanded fast-track deportations of immigrants before their cases were heard in immigration court.
  • On November 25, 2019, Jackson issued a ruling to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify to Congress during an impeachment hearing. Her ruling said senior presidential aides “who have been subpoenaed for testimony by an authorized committee of Congress must appear for testimony in response to that subpoena” even if the president orders them not to do it.

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