For Black Women in Law, Jackson’s Confirmation Is a Source of Pride

ATLANTA — Black women in law across the country have been eagerly awaiting the Senate’s final appeal on Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Zenell Brown, a lawyer and administrator at the Wayne County Third Circuit Court in Michigan, where she works with 58 judges, said Ms Jackson’s expected confirmation would bring both pride and a sigh of relief after a process confirmation that had felt like an assault on his character.

“It was just hazing,” said Ms Brown, 57. “As a black woman, you know what happened in the Senate confirmation hearing was going on there, but you also know how it goes in your day-to-day life.”

Since President Biden announced his nomination of Justice Jackson in February, Ms. Brown has been following the process closely. Each night of the hearings, she watched clips and read the day’s news, talked to friends and family, and posted her thoughts on social media.

Her mother-in-law, who is over 80, was particularly excited because she never imagined a black woman would be on the pitch in her lifetime, Ms Brown said. His youngest daughter, who is 30, jokes that Judge Jackson must be family because they share a last name.

“We’re not related, but this is an example that we all just want to have a piece of this exciting moment,” she said. “We feel like ‘it’s part of me’ and I’m so proud.”

Ohio appellate judge Emanuella Groves said Ms Jackson’s expected confirmation gave her hope for current and future generations of black lawyers, including her daughter who works in civil rights law. and his son-in-law who is a voter protection attorney. .

Yet for Judge Groves, 63, the confirmation hearings were thrilling but also disappointing as she thought about the questioning Ms Jackson faced.

“The manner of questioning certain senators was not a quest to ensure the selection of a qualified jurist who would interpret the constitution fairly, but a demonstration of their desire to select a judge who would interpret the law as they wished,” said she declared. noted. “That desire was greater than being part of history when the first black female lawyer was introduced to the Supreme Court.”

Erin McNeil Young, a civil litigation attorney in North Carolina, said there were moments in the confirmation hearings that she found triggering, particularly when senators questioned Judge Jackson’s qualifications.

Yet what she found most moving about the process was seeing the judge’s parents in the gallery supporting their daughter.

“His black, loving, hard-working parents, who grew up segregated, sat there watching,” Ms Young said. “And that they both got to witness this moment after what they went through just a generation ago means the most to me.”

“It was beautiful to see,” she added, noting that Judge Jackson, at that time, “could have been any number of my friends with their mothers and fathers sitting there proudly. “