Politico Pulls Together Reaction to Supreme Court Pick

From Politico Playbook PM:

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON will be nominated to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice STEPHEN BREYER. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman to sit on the high court.

  • In a message posted on Twitter, President JOE BIDENcalled Jackson “one of our nation’s brightest legal minds” and he said she “will be an exceptional Justice,” per Josh Gerstein.
  • CNN’s Jake Tapper and Ariane de Vogue were first up with the news: “She received and accepted Biden’s offer in a call Thursday night.”
  • Biden met with Jackson “earlier this month — more than a week ago, a senior administration official says, in a meeting that the White House managed to keep entirely under the radar,” per CNN’s Jeff Zeleny.
  • Jackson “is expected to have her courtesy meetings with senators next week,” CNN’s Manu Raju reports.
  • The date of today’s announcement is significant. Eugene notes: “It is two years to the day that then-candidate Biden announced on the South Carolina debate stage that he was going to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court.”
  • BTW: She goes by “Judge Jackson,” not “Judge Brown Jackson,” per NBC’s Frank Thorp.

HEADS UP — The White House noticed that Biden will deliver remarks on Jackson’s nomination at 2 p.m. today, where Jackson is also expected to speak with VP KAMALA HARRIS also in attendance, and press secretary JEN PSAKI will now brief at 3 p.m.


— The quick bio, via WSJ’s Ken Thomas, Tarini Parti and Jacob Gershman : “Judge Jackson, 51 years old, serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, one of the nation’s most influential courts and often a stepping stone for Supreme Court justices. She joined that court last June after eight years as a federal trial judge in the nation’s capital, where she wrote more than 550 opinions, including one from 2019 in which she ruled former White House counsel DON MCGAHN didn’t have absolute immunity from having to testify in a congressional investigation of then-President DONALD TRUMP .”

— Her pre-judicial background, via AP’s Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo and Zeke Miller: “Jackson … once worked as one of Breyer’s law clerks early in her legal career. She attended Harvard as an undergraduate and for law school, and served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the agency that develops federal sentencing policy, before becoming a federal judge in 2013.”

— How Breyer views her, via NYT’s Katie Rogers: “During her confirmation hearing to be a Federal District Court judge in Washington in 2012, ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON , the District of Columbia’s House delegate, recounted that Justice Breyer had two words when asked about her eligibility for the post: ‘Hire her.’ When Judge Jackson was sworn in for the job in 2013, Justice Breyer did the honors. ‘She sees things from different points of view, and she sees somebody else’s point of view and understands it,’ he said at the time.”

— Jackson’s vision for herself as a high school senior, uncovered by CNN’s Ariane de Vogue: “I want to go into law and eventually have a judicial appointment.” N.Y. Mag’s Nia Prater has more on her high school and college years (including her membership in an improv troupe).

— On the path that brought Jackson to today, WaPo’s Marc Fisher, Ann Marimow and Lori Rozsa have a smart read : “Ketanji Brown Jackson … was a ‘child of the ’70s,’ as she puts it. Raised with an African name, dressed in early childhood in a mini-dashiki, she was expected to reap the fruit of the boycotts and sit-ins of the 1960s, taking advantage of the opportunities and equality her parents’ generation had demanded. But … her path was neither smooth nor straight. The generational pivot her parents and other civil rights activists sought turned out to be not so simple. … Jackson found her way with a different approach than the confrontational activism of her parents’ generation — by deploying her smarts, good cheer and a root assumption that, whatever the obstacles, she belonged.”

— On the timing, NYT’s Michael Shear notes : “The White House decided to go ahead with the announcement — which the president had promised by the end of the month — even though news of the war raging in Ukraine is dominating cable television and internet news sites. Officials hope that the historic nature of the step, nominating the first Black woman to the court, will allow the news to break through and attract attention this weekend, though they acknowledge the importance of the war coverage as well. Announcing his choice now allows Mr. Biden to highlight her nomination during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday.”


Former President BARACK OBAMA tweeted : “I want to congratulate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on her nomination to the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson has already inspired young Black women like my daughters to set their sights higher, and her confirmation will help them believe they can be anything they want to be.”

Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL sounds like he’s a likely no. He called Jackson “the favored choice of far-left dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the court itself.” But, he continued: “I congratulate Judge Jackson on her nomination. I look forward to meeting with her in person and studying her record, legal views, and judicial philosophy.” ( His full statement)

Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.) sure sounds like a no, too: “[T]he radical Left has won President Biden over yet again. The attacks by the Left on Judge [J. MICHELLE CHILDS] from South Carolina apparently worked. … The Harvard-Yale train to the Supreme Court continues to run unabated.”

— Graham, however, had no issue voting to confirm her to the D.C. Circuit. Last June, he joined all Dems and GOP Sens. SUSAN COLLINS (Maine) and LISA MURKOWSKI (Alaska) to appoint her to the appeals court. Anthony Adragna has more on Jackson’s history in the Senate for Congress Minutes.

Related reading: How GOP senators are responding to the KBJ nomination, via Anthony Adragna

Former Speaker PAUL RYAN tweeted : “Janna and I are incredibly happy for Ketanji and her entire family. Our politics may differ, but my praise for Ketanji’s intellect, for her character, and for her integrity, is unequivocal.” ( NBC’s Sahil Kapur notes: “These two have a family connection: Jackson’s husband’s twin brother is married to Ryan’s sister.”)

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