AFJ Letter of Support for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
The Honorable Richard Durbin
Senate Judiciary Committee
Dear Chairman Durbin:
On behalf of the Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a national association representing over 120 public interest and civil rights organizations, I write to strongly support the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Judge Jackson is eminently qualified to serve on the D.C. Circuit. Twice confirmed by a unanimous Senate, experienced in both civil and criminal appellate practice, and a former law clerk for judges at every level of the federal judiciary, including for Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer on the Supreme Court, she will be an invaluable addition to the Circuit Court.
After graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School, Jackson clerked for Judge Bruce M. Selya on the First Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Patti B. Saris on the U.S District Court for the District of Massachusetts. She briefly left the judiciary to work on civil subject matters as a litigation associate for Miller, Cassidy & Larroca; but soon returned to complete a yearlong clerkship with Justice Breyer. Judge Jackson then began her appellate law practice at Goodwin Procter LLP, where she represented clients in criminal and civil matters, including before the Supreme Court.
In 2009, when President Obama nominated Judge Jackson to serve as Vice Chair for the U.S. Sentencing Commission, she was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. And in that role, she collaborated with Democratic and Republican appointees to create more equitable sentencing guidelines. She also served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the District of Columbia, representing low-income criminal appellants in the D.C. Circuit Court, before returning to private practice as Of Counsel for Morrison & Foerster LLP. There, she continued to develop her appellate practice, working on civil and criminal cases in state and federal court and as counsel of record on several amicus briefs to the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson’s deep and wide range of experience as a lawyer clearly prepared her for exemplary service on the D.C. District Court and will also serve her well as a judge at the appellate level.
During her eight years on the District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Jackson has written nearly 600 opinions and been reversed less than twelve times. Her record on the District Court demonstrates that she is a fair, impartial jurist with a clear commitment to equal justice.
Further, Judge Jackson would be only the third African American woman to ever serve on the D.C. Circuit
Court, reflecting the overall dearth of Black women on the federal appellate bench. The federal bench needs more judges who, like Judge Jackson, are experientially and demographically diverse, have represented the most vulnerable members of our society, and have fought for the constitutional rights of all. We believe that Judge Jackson will be a stellar addition to the D.C. Circuit Court and, as with her District Court nomination, the Senate should unanimously confirm her.