"In the midst of death, life persists. In the midst of untruth, truth persists. In the midst of darkness, light persists." — Mahatma Gandhi, 1931
Almost a century later, we are in the midst of a lot of fuckin' darkness, with much of it coming from the Supreme Court. In just the past week, six robed lunatics with life tenure have stolen women's right to bodily autonomy, overruled Americans' expressed desire to prevent their neighbors from walking around with murder sticks strapped to their hips, and gutted the EPA's ability to regulate carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of the boiling cauldron we've turned the planet into for our children. And for next term, they're taking up a case designed to let gerrymandered state legislators seize the ballots and cast electoral votes without regard for the will of the citizens.
It's not good.
And yet, in the midst of so much death and untruth and darkness, light does persist. Today Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson took the oath of office at the Supreme Court. Justice Jackson, the first Black female justice on the nation's highest court, and only the third Black justice ever, has been holding it together her whole life. After graduating from public school in Miami, she attended Harvard College and Harvard Law, then clerked for three federal judges, including Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she replaces today. She's been a federal public defender and an advocate for sentencing reform as vice chair of the US Sentencing Commission. And she's been a federal district and circuit court judge in DC, before being elevated to the Supreme Court.
This is an incredible woman whose qualifications are unparalleled and who held it together with total poise through those absolutely filthy confirmation hearings when GOP Senators Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and the rest of those diabolical goons pretended that she was some kind of friend to child molesters.
While Judge Jackson will not change the balance of the court, she is 51 years old, and she will be there when Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are gone. And perhaps more importantly, representation matters.
President Joe Biden promised to nominate a Black woman to the court because he understands that the lived experience of judges informs their decision-making. The end of Roe is a horrible tragedy, but Justice Jackson and Justice Amy Coney Barrett (yes, her, too), who have actually given birth, fundamentally understand what's at stake when you force a women to carry a dying fetus to term in a way that their male colleagues cannot begin to imagine. Moreover, having someone in the room for whom racial discrimination is not simply a theoretical construct matters as the six conservative justices gear up to gut what's left of the Voting Rights Act.
Very bad things are coming in this country. But Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is a point of light who will dedicate the rest of her life to protecting our rights. Today she put out a statement:
With a full heart, I accept the solemn responsibility of supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States and administering justice without fear or favor, so help me God. I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great Nation. I extend my sincerest thanks to all of my new colleagues for their warm and gracious welcome. I am also especially grateful for the time and attention given to me by the Chief Justice and by Justice Breyer. Justice Breyer has been a personal friend and mentor of mine for the past two decades, in addition to being part of today's official act. In the wake of his exemplary service, with the support of my family and friends, and ever mindful of the duty to promote the Rule of Law, I am well-positioned to serve the American people.
And you know she will do it. So let's enjoy this moment of brightness and light and truth as we watch her take the oath.
\u201cNEW: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in as the Supreme Court's 116th justice. She is the first Black woman to serve on the high court https://t.co/M4vORtg6jd\u201d— Bloomberg Equality (@Bloomberg Equality) 1656606485
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