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Congratulations to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Our friends and neighbours to the South have a new nominee for their Supreme Court: Ketanji Brown Jackson. The White House describes her as a “candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law.”

Judge Jackson graduated from Harvard (undergraduate and graduate degrees). She worked at Time Magazine. She started her legal career with three (3) clerkships, including one at the U.S. Supreme Court. She was a litigator. She worked in private practice. She worked as a Federal public defender. She has been a judge since 2013 and currently sits on D.C.’s Federal Appellate Court. She is a renowned jurist, ruling on over 550 cases when sitting as a District Court Judge. Her decisions are meticulous. In short, she is a highly meritorious nominee and would make a superb appointment.

Judge Jackson's nomination represents a "first" for the United States. She is the first Black woman nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is long past due.

At our firm, we believe that public institutions should reflect the community they serve. Representation matters on the bench. Not only does judicial diversity help our Courts understand the implications of their decisions in the real world; judicial diversity also reinforces the rule of law when people see their lived experiences reflected in the faces of those that judge them. The Court should be of the people and for the people.

Unfortunately, there are some individuals who believe that President Joe Biden's campaign pledge to select a Black woman for this vacancy is "reverse discrimination” or favouring allegedly unqualified (or less qualified) candidates. This same fear was expressed when the Federal Government of Canada reformed its federal judicial appointment process with the goals of appointing jurists of the highest caliber, in a transparent fashion, and with the goal of a judiciary that reflects the diversity of Canadian society.

It is a myth that there is only one “most” qualified candidate for any given position. There are usually many equally qualified candidates. This is equally the case with judicial appointments. Judge Jackson's curriculum vitae and career speak to a highly qualified, brilliant jurist with broad-ranging experience. She is unimpeachable in her judicial decorum. These are the qualities that make her a meritorious nomination. The fact that she also happens to be a Black woman is what makes her a historic nomination.

All things being equal, the most effective way to fix deliberate exclusion/racism is to choose inclusion. The playing field is still far from level. As Bernice King stated “If you don’t think representation matters, you’re probably well represented.

Our firm is celebrating Judge Jackson’s nomination and hoping that Canada continues to prioritize a diverse bench with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and an unwavering dedication to the rule of law.

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