Celebrating Black History Month! – Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson
In honor of National Black History Month, The Elder Law Center of Kirson & Fuller is proud to feature African Americans that have impacted the nation through jurisprudence.
Born in Washington, D.C., raised in Miami, FL. Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson is the first African American woman to serve on the Supreme Court as associate justice. Graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University, Jackson initially started working as a journalist and researcher for Time magazine. After a year, she enrolled in Harvard Law School earning her juris doctor degree in 1996 and marrying her college sweetheart Patrick Jackson. Brown Jackson went on to complete three prestigious federal clerkships assisting judges to process cases, review briefs, conduct legal research, and draft opinions.
For a number of years’ Jackson worked for the United States Sentencing Commission, then as a federal public defender in Washington, D.C. She then returned to the Sentencing Commission, appointed by President Barack Obama as a commissioner and the commission’s vice chair. Jackson and her fellow commissioners made retroactive the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, allowing defendants unfairly convicted under the previous legal regime to seek reduced sentences. Three years later, Jackson was nominated again by Obama, but this time, confirmed by the Senate for federal district court judge of Washington, D.C.
Jackson’s reputation to be a legal powerhouse continued to earn her prestige. In 2021, President Joe Biden nominated her to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A year later, after Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement from the Supreme Court in 2022, Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Breyer, praising her “uniquely accomplished and wide-ranging background. After Senate confirmation, Jackson was sworn into office on June 30th, 2022, replacing the newly retired Breyer.