This week, the Senate is expected to confirm Judge Kitangi Brown-Jackson, 51, as a member of the US Supreme Court, after President Joe Biden chose her to succeed retired Judge Steve Breyer next June.
During his 2020 election campaign, Biden promised to appoint a black female judge to a court that, in its 232-year existence, had only two black male judges on its ranks.
"Judge Jackson is one of the brightest legal minds in our nation and has extraordinary broad experience in our legal system, which gives her a perspective to be an exceptional judge," Biden said when announcing Kitangi's selection to serve as a Supreme Court justice.
In her acceptance speech for office, Justice Kitangi stated that the “responsibility” of being a judge means “to do the necessary work to protect the rule of law and promote equality and justice for all.”
Judge Kitangi will become the first black woman to reach this high office in American history.
Birth and upbringing
Kitangi comes from a family associated with law and enforcement, two of her uncles were police officers, and her brother served as an undercover officer in a drug-fighting unit in Baltimore.
From here, Judge Kitangi knows very well the difficulties and dangers faced by the police sector, and being black, she knows very well the suffering of African Americans with the police services.
September 14, 1970: Kitangi was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Miami, Florida.
1984-1988: Jackson rose to prominence throughout her educational career, attending Miami Palmetto High School, and starring in school speeches and debate competitions.
1992: She graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts.
1996: She received her doctorate degree, with distinction, from Harvard Law School, and was an editor in the Harvard Law Review.
During her time as a student at Harvard University, Kitangi faced questions of race and identity.
1996: Kitangi married her college classmate, Patrick Jackson, a white surgeon, and they have two daughters.
After graduating, Kitangi held 3 assistant positions with federal judges, including in 1999 as a clerk for Judge Breyer, who left him in office after more than 20 years working with him.
2005-2007: Kitangi also worked as a federal public defender, during which time the judge contributed to a petition for the release of a Guantanamo detainee.
Supreme Court nominee Justice Kitangi Brown-Jackson (European News Agency)
Justice Kitangi is the first modern-day Supreme Court justice to have experience as a public defender, with Jackson spending most of her career in Washington.
As a federal judge in Washington, Judge Kitangi has presided over many politically charged cases.
2017: The gunman who stormed a Washington pizzeria targeted by right-wing extremists who believe in conspiracy theories, known as "Pizza Gate", was sentenced to four years in prison.
2019: Kitangi rules that Donald McGahn, a former White House counsel, must testify before House investigators studying articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Kitangi served as a judge on the Federal Court for the District of Columbia Circuit from 2013 to 2021. She then served on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
She replaced Judge Mary Garland after becoming attorney general in Joe Biden's administration, receiving a majority of 53 to 44 in her confirmation vote last year.
Judge Kitangi's appointment to the position of Supreme Court judge comes at a time when a majority of 6 conservative judges controls the 9-judge court, and takes its decisions by simple majority.
It will have to consider many of the issues that cause deep societal division and further political polarization, such as protecting minority voting rights, undermining trade unions, and abolishing basic abortion rights that have been in place for half a century.
Judge Kitangi has been confirmed by the Senate three times as she was confirmed to the USSC in 2009 and received bipartisan support for her appointment to the District Court of Columbia in 2013 and unanimous support for her appointment to the District Court of Columbia in 2021.
Justice Kitangi Jackson has received numerous awards throughout her career. In 2021 Columbia Law School awarded her the Constance Baker-Motley Prize for empowering women of color, “advancing the rights of the people,” and demonstrating a “legacy of giving back to society.”Keywords: