Ketanji Brown Jackson’s husband tears up during Supreme Court hearing

THE confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson started Monday, and her opening remarks had many people in the room emotional — including her husband.

As Ketanji Brown Jackson gave her opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, her husband and daughter could be seen sitting behind her during the proceedings.

Her husband Dr Patrick Jackson was visibly emotional and tearing up as his wife thanked God and her family for their support in her remarks.

“During this hearing, I hope that you will see how much I love our country and the Constitution and the rights that make us free,” Judge Jackson said to the committee.

Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden, and would be the first black woman on the Supreme Court if confirmed.

But some Republican representatives have already called some of her past work into question, with Senator Josh Hawley claiming on Twitter, for example, that Jackson “has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker.”

But barring a significant misstep by the 51-year-old Jackson, a federal judge for the past nine years, Democrats who control the Senate by the slimmest of margins intend to wrap up her confirmation before Easter.

Jackson is expected to present an opening statement Monday afternoon, then answer questions from the committee’s 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans over the next two days.

Last year, Jackson won Senate confirmation by a 53-44 vote, with three Republicans supporting her. It’s not clear how many Republicans might vote for her this time.

Read our Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation blog for the latest news and updates…

  • Jackson prepped for weeks

    Ketanji Brown Jackson prepped for her confirmation hearing for weeks, two sources told NBC News.

    Under the guidance of the White House counsel’s office, “she studied core issues and rulings and participated in mock hearings,” the outlet reported.

    She also did a walkthrough of the hearing room on Capitol Hill on Saturday.

  • Confirmation process

    Ketanji Brown Jackson was set to give an opening statement on Monday and then to take questions from lawmakers on Tuesday and Wednesday, NPR reported.

    There is then a period of time in which the nomination is considered, which usually takes about a week.

    Then, the committee will hold a vote, and if Jackson is approved, the nomination will be sent to the full Senate for consideration.

  • Senator Lindsey Graham questioned nomination

    In opening remarks, Senator Lindsey Graham questioned Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination.

    “So you say, Judge Jackson, you don’t have any judicial philosophy, per se,” said Senator Graham, according to NBC News.

    “Well, somebody on the left thinks you do or they wouldn’t have spent the money they spent to have you in this chair.”

  • DC Court of Appeals

    On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden appointed Jackson to her current position as the incumbent Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

    She is now nominated to join the Supreme Court.

  • Who is Cory Booker?

    Senator Cory Booker represents the state of New Jersey.

    Booker made headlines in 2019 when he announced he would be running for president.

    When he was elected to the Senate, Booker became the first African-American person to represent the State of New Jersey.

    Booker is one of three Black senators and the only Black member of the Judiciary Committee.

  • ‘Overwhelming joy’

    Democratic New Jersey Senator Cory Booker said Monday that he felt “overwhelming joy” about Judge Jackson’s momentous nomination.

    “We are on the precipice of shattering another ceiling,” Booker said.

  • Senator Chuck Grassley

    88-year-old Republican Senator Grassley is the longest-ranking member on the committee.

    Grassley has raised questions about Judge Jackson’s record, but is remaining fair compared to other critics so far.

    “We won’t try to turn this into a spectacle,” he said Monday.

  • Senator Dick Durbin

    Five-term Democratic Senator Durbin is acting as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee for the first time during Judge Jackson’s hearings.

  • Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson, part three

    Post-graduation, Jackson served as a law clerk for several judges, including Patti Saris, Bruce Selya, and Stephen Breyer.

    Between 1998 and 2003, Jackson worked in private legal practice, and from 2003 until 2005, she worked as the assistant special counsel to the US Sentencing Commission.

    Jackson went on to work as an assistant federal public defender in DC, followed by some time as an appellate litigator for Morrison & Foerster.

    On July 23, 2009, former President Barack Obama nominated Jackson to the seat as Vice Chair of the US Sentencing Commission, which the Senate unanimously confirmed in February of the following year.

    Obama appointed Jackson as a judge for the US District Court in DC in September of 2012, and again in January of 2013, and she was approved by Senate and received her commission that March.

  • Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson, continued

    Ketanji Brown Jackson was born on September 14, 1970, in Washington DC, and was raised in Miami, Florida.

    Her father worked as an attorney, and her mother was a school principal.

    After graduating from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 1988, Jackson went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard College in 1992.

    In 1996, she graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, and during her time there, Jackson worked as an editor for the Harvard Law Review.

  • Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson?

    Ketanji Brown Jackson is a United States circuit judge for the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC.

    On February 25, 2022, it was reported that President Biden would be nominating Jackson as the first black woman to potentially be appointed to the Supreme Court.

  • Debate star

    Judge Jackson stood out as a “high achiever” from a young age, according to the White House.

    She was a speech and debate star who was even elected “mayor” of Palmetto Junior High.

    She was also student body president of Miami Palmetto Senior High School.

  • Kentaji Brown Jackson’s alma mater

    After graduating from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 1988, Ketanji Brown Jackson went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard College in 1992.

    In 1996, she graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School.

  • Where is Ketanji Brown Jackson from?

    Jackson was born on September 14, 1970, in Washington DC.

    However, she was raised in Miami, Florida.

  • What are some of Jackson’s notable rulings?

    In September of 2015, Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled that the DC Department of Corrections violated the rights of a deaf inmate under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Plus, the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to terminate grants for multiple teen pregnancy programs early was ruled as arbitrary and capricious by Jackson in two separate cases from April and June of 2018.

    Jackson also blocked an agency rule for fast-tracking deportations from passing in September of 2019, finding the US Department of Homeland Security had violated the Administrative Procedure Act at the time.

  • Who is Justice Stephen Breyer?

    If appointed, Ketanji Brown Jackson will replace Justice Breyer in the Supreme Court seat.

    Justice Stephen G. Breyer was nominated by President Bill Clinton on May 17, 1994, and has served since August 3, 1994. 

    Breyer is associated with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court.

    On January 26, reports of Breyer’s retirement first surfaced. 

  • Nomination criteria

    President Joe Biden called on Senators from both parties to help advise him in identifying Justice Stephen Breyer’s replacement after his retirement.

    According to the White House, Biden wanted a candidate with “exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law.”

    He also sought an individual who is dedicated to equal justice under the law.

  • Health battle

    As Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearings begin, another Supreme Court Justice has fallen sick and is currently in the hospital.

    According to the court’s public information office, Court Justice Clarence Thomas was hospitalized Friday with “flu-like symptoms.”

    “He underwent tests, was diagnosed with an infection and is being treated with intravenous antibiotics,” read the court’s press release.

  • Who is Clarence Thomas?

    American lawyer Clarence Thomas was elected to the United States Supreme Court in 1991.

    On October 30, 1989, Thomas was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by former President George HW Bush.

    He was sworn in two years later as the second Black man on the high court.

  • Who was Thurgood Marshall?

    Thurgood Marshall was the first African American Supreme Court Justice.

    Appointed by former President Lyndon B. Johnson, Marshall served on the Supreme Court from October 1967 to October 1991.

    He was succeeded by Clarence Thomas.

  • History made

    Ketanji Brown Jackson would be the third black judge after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas.

    If confirmed, Judge Jackson would also be the first Black woman on the high court.

  • George Washington socks

    As Judge Jackson, 51, gave her 12-minute statement to the Committee on the first day of her confirmation hearings, her family sat behind her.

    As her family sat behind her, Jackson’s husband could be seen wearing socks with George Washington’s likeness on them.

  • Unique appreciation

    Judge Jackson has a unique understanding of the legal system because of her diverse background in public service, according to the White House’s website.

    The Judge has multiple law enforcement officials in her family, including her uncles and her brother.

    “There is little doubt that she has the temperament, intellect, legal experience, and family background to have earned this appointment,” the Fraternal Order of Police said.

    “We are reassured that, should she be confirmed, she would approach her future cases with an open mind and treat issues related to law enforcement fairly and justly.”

  • ‘Difficult to demonize’

    CNN’s David Axelrod posted his reaction to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s opening remarks at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing just after it started.

    The political commentator said that the Judge’s personal story will make her “a difficult person to demonize.”

  • Was Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed today?

    Ketanji Brown Jackson gave her opening statement today, and so did several Senators who are part of the committee evaluating her nomination.

    She is not expected to actually be confirmed for several days yet.

    Democrats who control the Senate are hoping to wrap up her confirmation before Easter.


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