Biden Picks Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court


As Mr. Biden was weighing his options from a short list of other candidates, Judge Jackson emerged as a front-runner among advisers who saw her as a logical choice, in part because she had already won Republican support for her confirmation to the appeals court. Merrick Garland, Mr. Biden’s attorney general, whose own Supreme Court nomination by President Barack Obama was thwarted by Republicans in 2016, was formerly the chief judge of the appeals court and it was his decision to leave the bench to serve in Mr. Biden’s cabinet that opened the seat Judge Jackson filled.

The president’s decision to elevate her to the appeals court was seen as a signal that, should he get the opportunity to name a nominee, she would be at or near the top of his list to fulfill his campaign promise during the Democratic primary season to nominate a Black woman to the court. Her background as a public defender also made her an unusual, but to Mr. Biden, appealing, choice.

“The law is not some esoteric thing to Joe Biden,” said Jeff Peck, a lobbyist who served as general counsel and staff director to the Senate Judiciary Committee when Mr. Biden was its chairman. “He wants to make sure there’s a justice who understands how the law impacts people in their day to day lives.”

Last year, when a Republican senator asked during the confirmation process whether she had been concerned that her work as a public defender could put violent criminals back on the streets, she argued that having such a background was an asset.

“Having lawyers who can set aside their own personal beliefs about their client’s alleged behavior or their client’s propensity to commit crimes benefits all persons in the United States,” she said in a written response, “because it incentivizes the government to investigate accusations thoroughly and to protect the rights of the accused during the criminal justice process.”

Judge Jackson, whose nomination was tweeted earlier by a CNN reporter, has two daughters and is married to Patrick G. Jackson, a general surgeon at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. She is related by marriage to Paul D. Ryan, the former House speaker and Republican vice-presidential candidate. (Dr. Jackson is the twin brother of Mr. Ryan’s brother-in-law.) At her 2012 confirmation hearing, Mr. Ryan testified in her support.

“Our politics may differ, but my praise for Ketanji’s intellect, for her character, for her integrity, it is unequivocal,” Mr. Ryan said. “She is an amazing person, and I favorably recommend your consideration.”





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