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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: LGBTQI+ Leaders Applaud the Nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

February 26, 2022

Yesterday, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, one of our nation's brightest legal minds, as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. President Biden sought a candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law. Judge Jackson formerly clerked for Justice Breyer, and has broad experience across the legal profession – as a federal appellate judge, a federal district court judge, a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an attorney in private practice, and as a federal public defender. She has been confirmed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis three times – most recently last year for her current seat. If confirmed, Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

A broad range of LGBTQI+ leaders and organizations issued statements applauding her qualifications and acknowledging her historic nomination.

See below for what they are saying:

Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, Chair, Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus: "Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's demonstrated commitment to justice, dedication to the Constitution, and knowledge of the rule of law make her highly qualified to serve as our nation's next Supreme Court Justice. Her previous experience on the U.S. Sentencing Commission and as a federal public defender would be a welcome addition to the Court. Her historic nomination as the nation's first Black woman to serve on the Court is long overdue and I look forward to her swift confirmation." [Tweet, 2/25/2022]

New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, Co-Chair, Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus: "I commend President Biden's historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. I'm excited to see such a qualified nominee who has dedicated her life to preserving civil liberties get a seat on the Bench." [Tweet, 2/25/2022]

Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan, Co-Chair, Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus: "Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has been a champion for equality throughout her career, and I have the utmost confidence she will continue to protect the rights of all Americans, including those from the LGBTQ+ community. I urge the Senate to confirm her nomination without delay." [Statement, 2/25/2022]

New York Congressman Mondaire Jones, Co-Chair, Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus: "Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is an intellectual heavyweight and highly regarded jurist who has dedicated her life and career to the service of others. I applaud President Biden for making history with this nomination, as well as for making the perfect choice, and I look forward to the Senate's timely consideration of Judge Jackson. As the far-right supermajority on the Court works to subvert our democracy and unravel LGBTQ+ rights, Judge Jackson will be a powerful champion for justice, equality, and the rule of law." [Statement, 2/25/2022]

Andy Marra, Executive Director, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF): "TLDEF applauds President Biden's nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who makes history as the first Black woman to be nominated to our nation's highest court. If confirmed, Judge Jackson's extensive and varied background as a federal appellate judge, federal district court judge and federal public defender, along with her extensive criminal defense experience, will leave her poised to step into her role as a defender of the Constitution and a champion for fairness and equality. We urge the Senate to move forward without delay on this historic nomination." [Statement, 2/25/2022]

CenterLink: "CenterLink applauds President Biden's historic nomination of Judge Brown and remians encouraged by the Administration's commitment to appointing diverse, qualified, and fair-minded jurists who will ensure the justice system works as it is intended to, for every American citizen." [Statement, 2/25/2022]

David Johns, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC): "The nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court is historic – not just because if confirmed she will be the first Black woman to serve on the court but because she is also the first former public defender to be nominated for this role. Make no mistake, Judge Jackson's lived and professional experience make her uniquely qualified for the Supreme Court and her role in bringing equity to sentencing is an important skill set currently missing from the Supreme Court. She comes from a family of police officers, worked as a public defender, and served on the bipartisan U.S. Sentencing Commission as well as a judge on the District Court and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal. She understands how the law affects everyday people's lives and had demonstrated an enduring commitment to civil and human rights. Her handling of cases during her time as a public defender showed she won real victories that advanced racial justice and equal treatment under the law. We welcome Judge Jackson's nomination and urge the Senate to swiftly confirm her to the Supreme Court." [Statement, 2/25/2022]

GLAD: "We welcome this historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the next Associate Justice and the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. An exceptionally qualified and principled jurist, she brings nearly two decades of wide-ranging legal experience, including seven years as a district court judge followed by service on the D.C. Circuit to which she was confirmed last year. Our nation's high Court is a venue where every American should know they can be heard fairly and Brown Jackson's experience as a public defender and two terms with the U.S. Sentencing Commission speak volumes about her connection to and commitment to justice. Today's announcement is a moment of hope in a challenging week and we look forward to a fair and timely confirmation process." [Statement, 2/25/2022]

Human Rights Campaign: The next Supreme Court justice must safeguard and extend the rights of LGBTQ+ people and marginalized communities everywhere. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is the right choice for the Supreme Court and will ensure all Americans are protected under the law." [Tweet, 2/25/2022]

Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR): "Judge Jackson is brave, thoughtful, and a fierce defender of justice. Above all else, she is eminently qualified and will be a stalwart protector of our democratic institutions at a time when we need it the most. Her experience as a public defender will bring a perspective to the court that will benefit every person in the United States. And as the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, Judge Jackson's confirmation will be a powerful reflection of the diversity of our country." [Statement, 2/25/2022]

Joni Madison, Interim President, Human Rights Campaign: "I'm proud to support Judge Brown Jackson's nomination to #SCOTUS. She is an extremely qualified candidate whose confirmation will mark key progress towards ensuring that those who sit upon our nation's highest court reflect our nation's diversity." [Tweet, 2/25/2022]

Kevin Jennings, CEO, Lambda Legal: "With President Biden's nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, he has fulfilled his pledge to elevate a Black woman to the highest court in the land, an historic moment that we celebrate. Our institutions, including the Supreme Court, are stronger when they reflect the great diversity of the United States. We know that the inclusion of different perspectives, histories, and experiences on our nation's highest court will increase public trust in the institution and enhance the Court's decision-making.

"The credibility of the Supreme Court, as one of the three branches of our constitutional system, hinges on whether the justices appointed to serve are committed to equal justice for all. The country as a whole is entitled to expect that justices sitting on the nation's highest Court will understand the connection between civil rights and the health of our democracy and will recognize the importance of ensuring that historically excluded groups—like the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV—can have confidence that their rights will be fairly adjudicated in a court of law. In the face of unrelenting state legislative attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender youth, the stakes could not be higher. When combined with the attacks on reproductive rights, voting rights, and nondiscrimination protections more broadly, every person should appreciate the importance and gravity of President Biden's choice to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court at this time in our nation's history.

"Lambda Legal's preliminary review of Judge Jackson's record gives us significant comfort that she can be trusted to administer the fair and impartial justice the country needs. We urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to act thoroughly and promptly in fulfilling their constitutional duty to consider President Biden's nominee. All of us deserve and must insist upon a Supreme Court whose members are committed to upholding the Constitution, including its sacred guarantees of liberty, equality, and justice for all." [Statement, 2/25/2022]

Kierra Johnson, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund: "The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund supports President Biden's nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve as the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. D.C. Circuit Judge Jackson is supremely qualified, which is exactly why she received bipartisan confirmation by the Senate to the appeals court with jurisdiction over the most complex federal issues. Her 2021 confirmation reflects the third time that Judge Jackson has been confirmed with bipartisan support. Diversity on the bench matters. As law professor and president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Sherrilyn Ifill has written, "The lack of racial diversity on our nation's courts threatens both the quality and legitimacy of Judicial decision-making … Diversity on the bench can enrich judicial decision-making by including a variety of voices and perspectives in the deliberative process." Our nation's highest court bench must reflect the diverse people of this country. The nomination and the confirmation of a well-qualified Black woman jurist to the Supreme Court is long overdue. Though not taught to us in schools, Black women jurists have long served with distinction on our nation's court benches. White supremacy and the intertwined biases of racism and sexism have led 45 U.S. presidents to fail to ever nominate a Black woman for the Supreme Court. Today, that changed. It is about time that a Black woman is in the position to help shape the legal landscape of our nation at this critical moment. Black women have been highly engaged and responsible in securing our families, advocating for healthy communities, and actively participating in our democracy while inspiring others to do the same. Our democracy, our constitutional rights to access information, our fundamental right to vote, the right to autonomy over our own bodies, and our right to live free from discrimination are under attack. We need the most qualified and fair-minded jurists on the bench and Judge Brown Jackson is eminently qualified to help get us on the correct path of justice and equity for all. Because I am confident that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will uphold the Constitution and do justice for the people, I call on Senators to swiftly confirm her nomination to the Supreme Court."

Stacey Stevenson, CEO, Family Equality: "Family Equality applauds the Biden Administration's nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, and we join our community in standing with her for the confirmation ahead. Judge Jackson is exceptionally qualified, with an outstanding record of service. Her robust experience as an assistant federal public defender, a commissioner on the US Sentencing Commission, and a judge on two prestigious federal courts demonstrates her commitment to equal justice under the law and the rights of everyday families — experience that is too often missing in the federal judiciary. Her groundbreaking nomination exemplifies the Biden Administration's determination to put the most qualified individuals at the helm of our nation's work and create a Court that better reflects the diversity of this country and families like mine. With this nomination, we have the chance to have a Justice who understands the lived experiences of all Americans—regardless of race, background, religion, orientation, or identity—and who will uphold the rights of our communities above the wealthy and powerful. We urge the US Senate to swiftly and fairly move Judge Jackson through her confirmation process, especially given that she received bipartisan support during her confirmation to the DC Circuit less than a year ago, so we can move our country closer to the promise of justice for all. Until then, we celebrate this moment alongside soon-to-be Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson!" [Statement, 2/25/2022]

Victoria Kirby York, Deputy Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC): "The U.S. Supreme Court is a branch of government that should include the diversity of life experiences of the American people on its bench. Judge Jackson would provide important racial and gender perspectives as well as cultural competency to assist in fair, equitable, and objective rulings. Considering nearly half of the people in women's prisons across the country identify as LGBTQ+, many of them Black, it is important that we see ourselves represented and reflected in our nation's highest court and representation of the system. As a Black non-binary woman and mother to a Black girl, this is a moment of joy, pride, and relief. It is hard to trust a system to consider its decisions' impact on your life when no one with your lived experience is in it to reflect on the unequal and inequitable impact on your life. Judicial rulings may strive to be objective, but the impact is often not race or gender-neutral. Justice Jackson, much like Justice Sotomayor, will bring the intersecting experiences of being a racial minority, a woman, a wife, and a mother alongside the traditional credentials of the court in ways that will prayerfully make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans too often made invisible in the decisions affecting our lives. It's long past time that we had a Black woman on the highest Court in the land – and we are excited to work to support Judge Jackson's confirmation." [Statement, 2/25/2022]

Joseph R. Biden, WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: LGBTQI+ Leaders Applaud the Nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/354647

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