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    • Jackson is sworn in during Senate confirmation hearings.

Ketanji Brown Jackson Makes History

Evie Doolittle '23
In January 2022, at age 83, Justice Stephen Bryer announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. In response, President Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson, who would be the first justice since Thurgood Marshall with experience as a public defender. She was then confirmed on April 7, 2022.
Before her confirmation to the Supreme Court, Brown Jackson served as a judge on a federal trials court in Washington D.C. for seven years. In that time, she determined left-leaning rulings on many significant cases. For example, in a 2019 debate between Democrats, and the Trump administration, she ruled that subpoenaed former White House counsel Dan McGahn would be required to testify in Trump’s impeachment trial. Jackson concluded in her opinion that “Presidents are not kings. Absolute immunity from the compelled congressional process simply does not exist.” In another ruling, Jackson ruled on the side of labor unions against a Trump-era policy called the Federal Labor Relations Authority (F.L.R.A) that would allow the government to dictate workplace alterations. In their opinion, she wrote, “The cursory policy statement that the F.L.R.A. issues to justify its choice to abandon thirty-five years of precedent promoting and applying the de minimis standard and to adopt the previously rejected substantial-impact test is arbitrary and capricious.” 
In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 19% of people claim that they had heard a lot about Jackson’s nomination, while 28% said they had heard nothing at all. Hopkins Young Democrats co-heads Ingrid Slattery ‘23 and Nathan Meyers ‘22 speculated that the confirmation hearings were overshadowed by issues such as climate change and the Ukraine-Russian conflict. Slattery noted, “I’m not super interested in following the details. From what I know of her, she’s an obviously qualified candidate and yet I still expect nearly half of the senate to disagree.” According to Slattery, “I’d rather read about Ukraine or Climate Change policies…. Hearing that Lindsay Graham suddenly cares a whole lot about Homeland Security secretary discretion when he didn’t a few months ago is expected, boring, and something we, unfortunately, just have to work around.” Meyers stated that “Obviously the unfortunate situation in Ukraine has made it less of a priority in the media, but I find that the New York Times still does a thorough coverage of the hearing’s events, especially in their morning briefing.” 
Several Hopkins students believed the questions asked by senators during the confirmation hearings had a political bias. Drew Williams ‘23 stated that, “Some of the questions are clearly trying to pigeonhole her, some are fair questions, and some highlight the historic nature of her nomination.” Slattery added, “I think that, as usual in recent years, [the questions]became more performative than honest or constructive. It’s clear that the majority of senators had decided their vote before the hearings, which is okay as long as they still consider the evidence, but many, in my opinion, did not. …. Yes, it’s good to give someone a tough hearing, but only if the goal is to engage in genuine debate and consideration of the evidence. It did not surprise me that we did not see that from many Republicans.” Baran Pasa ‘22 observed, “All I see are Republican senators making a fool of themselves, but I’m sure I’d see it differently depending on the news source.” 
Hopkins students harbored differing opinions about what would happen if Jackson's nomination was approved. Pasa stated, “I don’t really care since it won’t change much, there is still an imbalance in the court.” Meyers concluded, “... she is among the most qualified nominees in history and it would be a shame if Republicans were to stop her confirmation.”
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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