UCC leader celebrates Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation at the White House
United Church of Christ leaders celebrated a historic day for the Supreme Court and for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Thursday, April 7. She was confirmed by the Senate, by a 53-to-47 vote, to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Jackson, the Court’s first Black woman and former public defender, got a standing ovation from a majority of senators after the vote.
For the first time in 200 years, once Jackson is seated this summer, white men will no longer make up the court’s majority. Replacing retiring Justice Steven Breyer as an associate justice, she will be one of only five women and three people of color to have served on the Supreme Court.
UCC Associate General Minister Traci Blackmon went to the White House on Friday, April 8, at the invitation of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden to celebrate Jackson’s confirmation. Blackmon issued the following statement that day:
Yesterday marked another significant moment in the history of our nation. Judge Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson was affirmed as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and the first Black woman to receive a seat in the 233 years of the Court’s existence. While her qualifications, experience and character are beyond reproach and need not be elaborated here, it matters that the personhood of Judge Brown Jackson is that of a Black woman. She will serve the court, tasked with guarding and interpreting a Constitution whose founding fathers did not acknowledge the full humanity of a people whose very survival is governed by the words they’ve written.
It matters that the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court means that, for the first time in 232 years, the Court reflects more of the richness of culture and heritage in our country than ever before. And it matters that the world bore witness to the danger of insular thought by any group of people, but especially those with legislative power.
I wept as I listened to senator after senator espouse the stellar character and qualifications of Judge Brown Jackson, only to then state they would not support her elevation to the Court, simply because they could not trust a Black woman to have their self-serving interests at heart. I noted that these people were largely the same people who are advocating against women’s right to bodily autonomy and reproductive health care. These are the same people who fear an accurate accounting of history threatens the stability of a nation. These are the same people who strategically and unabashedly imposed their narrow theological lens on the vastness of humanity and God’s creation. And sadly, these are the same people who are fighting to limit the ability of those who look like Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson from exercising their full citizenship in elections all over this nation.
We should indeed celebrate the judicial height to which Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has rightfully ascended, and we should also mourn the potential loss to our nation when elected officials descend to the depths of depravity we’ve witnessed during this process. We are all divinely created to live in community together. As those of the Christian faith prepare to enter Passion Week, let us do so remembering the call to reflection and repentance our faith requires. Let us examine ourselves and our nation beneath the shadow of the Cross and in view of Christ’s inexhaustible love.
The Rev. Traci D. Blackmon Associate General Minister United Church of Christ
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