Supreme Court Justice Jackson Is Writing a Memoir

From a Washington Post story by Ann E. Marimow headlined “Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is writing a memoir”:

Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the high court, is writing a memoir as part of a book deal.

Jackson said her book, “Lovely One,” will be a “transparent accounting of what it takes to rise through the ranks of the legal profession, especially as a woman of color with an unusual name and as a mother and a wife striving to reconcile the demands of a high-profile career with the private needs of my loved ones.”

“Mine has been an unlikely journey,” Jackson said in the statement released by her publisher, Random House.

Jackson, who is serving her first term on the court, was nominated by President Biden in February to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who retired in June. She is following the path of several Supreme Court justices who have earned additional income from writing books about their lives and work.

The announcement does not include a publication date, and Random House declined to comment on the financial terms for Jackson’s book, but several justices have struck lucrative contracts. Soon after she took the bench in 2020, Justice Amy Coney Barrett signed up with a conservative imprint of Penguin Random House. Last year, Barrett reported receiving $425,000 — more than double the salary she was paid as a law professor — as part of the agreement. Politico reported at the time that she would be paid a total of $2 million for the book.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas have also reported payments from book deals. Sotomayor reported about $115,000 in royalty payments from Penguin Random House in 2021, on top of more than $3.3 million she previously reported in book payments since 2010. Thomas reportedly sold his memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son,” to HarperCollins for a seven-figure advance in 2003.

The title of Jackson’s memoir, “Lovely One,” is a reference to the name — Ketanji Onyika — that Jackson’s parents gave her. It was chosen from a list sent to them by Jackson’s aunt, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa when the future jurist was born in 1970. In public appearances, Jackson has described herself as a “child of the ’70s,” whose parents were civil rights activists and educators.

The memoir will trace Jackson’s path from her childhood in Miami to Harvard College and law school, and eventually to making history as the court’s first Black, female justice.

“She describes her challenges and triumphs, shares her love story with refreshing honesty, lively wit, and warmth, and ultimately tells a moving, open-hearted tale that will spread hope for a more just world,” according to the announcement. “Her story is an ode to dreaming unabashedly, overcoming adversity, and seeking justice for all. It is also a testament to how each of us can work towards building an extraordinary future and open doors to change for generations to come.”

Associate justices earn $274,200 a year and are limited to outside income of no more than $30,000 per year, according to federal ethics rules. But book-writing payments are not considered “outside earned income,” allowing the justices to enter into sizable agreements with publishers.

Ann Marimow covers legal affairs for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2005 and has covered state government and politics in California, New Hampshire and Maryland.

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