OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
There is a new front runner for the Supreme Court nomination of President Joe Bide and she has a connection to a well known Republican.
U.S. Appeals Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has taken the lead in the sweepstakes to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Yahoo News reported.
President Obama first appointed her as a federal district judge in 2013 and considered her as a possible nominee to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia when he died suddenly six years ago.
Last year, the Senate confirmed her 53 to 44 as Biden’s choice for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court has often been a stepping stone to a Supreme Court nomination, including for Scalia and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Brett M. Kavanaugh as well as Merrick Garland, whose nomination was blocked in 2016.
Those who know Jackson say she always drew praise and respect.
“Even among that rarified crowd of law clerks, she stood out — not only because of her sharp intellect and keen ability to identify and analyze legal issues, but also for her natural leadership skills,” University of Georgia law professor Sonja West said. She “knows how to bring people together, build their trust and bring down the temperature in the room. Yet she also has a fearless confidence in her opinions.”
She is married to Dr. Patrick G. Jackson, a surgeon who set me at Harvard and who is connected to Republican former Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan as his twin brother is Ryan’s brother-in-law.
She comes from an accomplished family as her dad was an attorney for his daughter’s school district and her mom was the principal of Miami’s high school for the arts.
And she attended school with some accomplished people, including former debate team partner, Stanford law professor Nate Persily, who said she was “a star in the making,” and former U.S. attorney for Miami, Ben Greenberg, who was not only her debate partner but her prom date.
“All of us high school debaters were idealistic and had dreams of either arguing in the Supreme Court or being a Supreme Court justice. But if we had to vote who was the most likely to end up on the court, Ketanji Brown Jackson would have been the unanimous choice,” South Florida criminal defense attorney David O. Marcus said. “She was so smart, dynamic, charming and friendly — and a star debate champion. Our old high school debate crew is rooting very hard for her.”
Democrats could be taking a chance as her ideologies are not exactly known but she did rule against former White House Counsel Donald McGahn’s claim of “absolute immunity.”
“Blatant defiance of Congress’ centuries-old power to compel the performance of witnesses is not an abstract injury, nor is it a mere banal insult to our democracy,” she said. “It is an affront to the mechanism for curbing abuses of power that the framers carefully crafted for our protection.”
“Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that presidents are not kings. … Rather, in this land of liberty, it is indisputable that current and former employees of the White House work for the people of the United States, and that they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” she said.
She was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by former President Obama but she has not ruled on controversial issues like abortion and gun control.