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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court appointment: A Major Victory in a Far Bigger struggle

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court appointment is cause for celebration. But it should be just the beginning.

“In my family, it took just one generation [to go from](( segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States”.
On the April 7, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Making history as the first Black woman to ever be appointed to the highest court in the land, her addition meant that white, male identifying judges were now in the minority.
As great a moment as it was to witness this historic win for Black women, it is imperative to acknowledge that, similar to President Obama’s win and Vice President Harris’s appointment, Jackson’s confirmation does not mean instant racial reconciliation, or a more tolerant society. In fact, it might not even be a step closer to it. From heated and oftentimes arguably irrelevant lines of questioning by GOP senators during her hearing, to them leaving the room as soon as Jackson was confirmed, this historic confirmation did not show unpredictable behavior. Those who have always discouraged the representation of marginalized communities, continue to do so. In fact, some were worse than usual. Sen. Ted Cruz used the media attention to advance his own political agendas by bringing up unrelated issues like critical race theory. This showed not only the calm and composure women of color have to possess in situations like this, it is also indicative of the fact that regardless of the confirmation, and regardless of her absolutely stellar track record at the District Court, the United States Court of Appeals and the Sentencing Commission, her appointment was still not supported by the majority because of what can only be assumed as racial bias.
A prime example of which is the recent SCOTUS leak. On the May 3, the SCOTUS confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade. While most of the population was and is focused on the ruling itself, Republicans did not hold back from pointing fingers at the new addition to the court, their first priority being investigating the “egregious leak” itself, as they blamed Judge Jackson for the leak without any reason or substantial evidence to do so. The fact that amid such landmark rulings affecting such a huge population of the country, the GOP would focus on blaming Jackson, speaks volumes about how racial reconciliation is perhaps not even a step closer since the confirmation.
For many, Jackson’s confirmation served as a reminder that America is perhaps heading in the right direction. The fact that a Black woman made it all the way to the Supreme Court meant that the dreams of other women of color aren’t all that unrealistic after all. Even then, if America’s first suspect in the SCOTUS leak was Jackson, is it really advancing toward a more equal society? Is Jackson the ninth judge of the Supreme Court or is she arguably the most powerful Black woman who will still be discriminated against? Will women of color always remain at the same status regardless of what positions they hold?
Don't get me wrong; it is obviously still cause for celebration. However, when you're a woman of color living in the United States, you do not have the luxury to celebrate for too long, because the many individuals stacking their chips against you will be watching steadily for the first mistake you make. While this confirmation was a historic victory, it should only be the beginning. And it is up to us to make sure of that. It is up to us to take the next steps, be it hiring underrepresented minorities in our own businesses or continuing to unlearn and educate ourselves.
There is still a long way to go. There is still a long way to go because it should not have taken 232 years in the first place, and it should not take this long for the next. President Biden’s administration is slowly becoming known for being one of the most inclusive so far, with more than half of his cabinet composed of people of color..
While this is commendable, it also should have been the norm. A government should always look like and represent its people. Vice President Harris’ appointment should not have been unprecedented. Senator Mitt Romney should not have been glorified for being the only Republican applauding at Jackson’s confirmation. And the confirmation of a powerful and capable Black woman to the Supreme Court, one of the highest seats of law and justice in the U.S., should not have taken this long.
Shanzae Ashar Siddiqui is Deputy Opinion Editor. Email her at
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