Ketanji Brown Jackson Chosen as Biden’s Pick for Supreme Court

Her most notable decisions on the district court included blocking the Trump administration’s attempts to fast-track deportations, cut short grants for teen pregnancy prevention and shield a former White House counsel from testifying before Congress about President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation.

“Presidents are not kings,” she wrote in 2019, issuing a ruling that Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, had to obey a congressional subpoena seeking his testimony about Mr. Trump’s actions. “They do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control.”

As Mr. Biden was weighing his options from a short list of other candidates, Judge Jackson emerged as a front-runner among advisers who saw her as a logical choice, in part because she had already won Republican support for her confirmation to the appeals court. Merrick Garland, Mr. Biden’s attorney general, whose own Supreme Court nomination by President Barack Obama was thwarted by Republicans in 2016, was formerly the chief judge of the appeals court and it was his decision to leave the bench to serve in Mr. Biden’s cabinet that opened the seat Judge Jackson filled.

The president’s decision to elevate her to the appeals court was seen as a signal that, should he get the opportunity to name a nominee, she would be at or near the top of his list to fulfill his campaign promise during the Democratic primary season to nominate a Black woman to the court. Her background as a public defender also made her an unusual, but to Mr. Biden, appealing, choice.

“The law is not some esoteric thing to Joe Biden,” said Jeff Peck, a lobbyist who served as general counsel and staff director to the Senate Judiciary Committee when Mr. Biden was its chairman. “He wants to make sure there’s a justice who understands how the law impacts people in their day to day lives.”

Last year, when a Republican senator asked during the confirmation process whether she had been concerned that her work as a public defender could put violent criminals back on the streets, she argued that having such a background was an asset.

“Having lawyers who can set aside their own personal beliefs about their client’s alleged behavior or their client’s propensity to commit crimes benefits all persons in the United States,” she said in a written response, “because it incentivizes the government to investigate accusations thoroughly and to protect the rights of the accused during the criminal justice process.”

Source: NYT > U.S. > Politics

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