Today, the United States Senate voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the nation’s 116th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson is the first Black woman to serve on the high court’s bench, and she is the first former federal public defender.
As the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, we believe in passionate leaders who share our commitment to equal justice and public service. Judge Jackson’s expansive career, including her work as a public defender, has enriched her understanding of people’s experiences with the justice system. Her diverse professional background will also provide a unique perspective to the Court’s work that is currently missing, yet essential to achieving our nation’s promise of equal justice for all.
During Judge Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, she described the important role public defenders play in protecting our core constitutional values. “Federal public defenders don’t get to pick their clients. They have to represent whoever comes in, and it’s a service. You are standing up for the constitutional value of representation.”
We had the honor of hosting Judge Jackson at our Conference and Career Fair in 2015, where she shared words of encouragement and insight with hundreds of law students in attendance. Her historic confirmation further serves as an inspiration to the public interest law community and to all future passionate public service leaders. We hope this decision will foster greater diversity in the federal courts with more appointments who come from civil rights and public defender backgrounds.