Nice Time: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed To DC Circuit Court!
The Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Monday to replace Attorney General Merrick Garland on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Jackson, 50, is considered a top contender to become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court when the time comes.
Jackson was unanimously confirmed in 2013 to serve on the District Court, but Republicans have only gotten worse since then. This time, only Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Lindsey Graham joined Democrats in approving her nomination, 53 to 44 (hey, she even got Joe Manchin). Graham's fellow South Carolina Senator, Tim Scott, didn't vote for her because that's apparently how he demonstrates that racism doesn't exist.
Republicans might've had their hackles up because Jackson has repeatedly ruled against the Trump administration. In 2019, she ordered former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with a House subpoena and testify before Congress. She dismantled the former White House squatter's “absolute immunity" defense, declaring it “baseless" and a "a fiction that has been fastidiously maintained over time through the force of sheer repetition" but "simply has no basis in the law." The sister can throw down.
"To make the point as plain as possible, it is clear to this Court for the reasons explained above that, with respect to senior-level presidential aides, absolute immunity from compelled congressional process simply does not exist," Jackson writes, claiming that the Justice Department's insistence that it does exist "promotes a conception of separation-of-powers principles that gets these constitutional commands exactly backwards." "In reality, it is a core tenet of this Nation's founding that the powers of a monarch must be split between the branches of the government to prevent tyranny," Jackson writes.
"It is hard to imagine a more significant wound than such alleged interference with Congress' ability to detect and… https://t.co/sKMBQrySal— Maddow Blog (@Maddow Blog) 1574736086.0
Jackson said that “presidents are not kings," which likely offended the wannabe despot and future insurrectionist. The judge also blocked the Trump administration's attempts to fast-track deportations of undocumented immigrants without the use of those pesky immigration courts. Jackson called out the administration for not following the correct decision-making procedures, which likely violated federal law. Not a single fool was suffered.
"Put in common parlance, if a policy decision that an agency makes is of sufficient consequence that it qualifies as an agency rule, then arbitrariness in deciding the contours of that rule — e.g., decision making by Ouija board or dart board, rock/paper/scissors, or even the Magic 8 Ball — simply will not do," Jackson wrote. "There are well-established legal constraints on the manner in which an agency exercises its discretion to make discretionary policy decisions, and there are also legally established consequences if an agency does not adhere to these procedural requirements when it determines the policies that it imposes."
Both rulings were more than 100 pages of detailed legal arguments that clearly explained why Trump wasn't shit, but Republicans still questioned Jackson's judicial independence. She wasn't having it.
"It doesn't make a difference whether or not the argument is coming from a death row inmate or the president of the United States," she said. "I'm not injecting my personal views."
Marsha Blackburn and Tom Cotton grilled Jackson over whether she'd accept a Supreme Court nomination as a result of President Joe Biden "packing the Court." It's a dumb question, especially considering that Justices Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett both gained their seats through overtly corrupt means, not to mention whatever happened with Brett Kavanaugh's credit cards.
A DC native, Jackson grew up in Miami. She's spoken often about how she developed a thick skin early in life as a "dark-skinned Black girl who was often the only person of color in her class or social circle." When she was an undergrad at Harvard, a classmate draped a Confederate battle flag outside his dorm window in the middle of Harvard Yard. This was 1990. Jackson planned rallies and circulated petitions in protest of the university's response. As part of what she would describe as a demonstration to “embarrass the university in front of the alumni," she wore black instead of crimson and white, the school's colors, at the annual Harvard-Yale football game. It's impressive that she was determined enough to sit through a football game.
Jackson graduated cum laude from Harvard Law, where she was editor of the Harvard Law Review. She clerked for three federal judges, as well as Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, whom we hope she replaces very soon.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."