Black Congresswomen were among the observers on Day 3 of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the historic nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an Associate Supreme Court Justice. If confirmed, she would be the nation’s first Black woman jurist to serve on the highest court in the land.
ESSENCE spoke exclusively with several members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
The members each gave high marks to the nominee who faced tough, sometimes contentious partisan questioning from Republicans about her judicial record on cases involving Guantanamo Bay, reproductive rights, child pornography and more.
“The judge has been very clear in answering the questions and her integrity has shown,” Rep. Barbara Lee said outside the hearing room. “And I think the rest of the country sees what we haven’t had on the Supreme Court in terms of the brilliance of Black women.”
Calling Jackson both “experienced and qualified,” she posited that if confirmed, Jackson will bring “a lens and perspective that’s never been on the court.”
“I keep thinking what we’ve lost all these years, but what we’re about to gain for everybody in America.”
Pressley, who was carrying a CISE purse emblazoned with the words “Protect Black Women,” agreed. “I applaud her stamina. She’s been unflappable.”
The Congresswoman noted the moment has been emotional, and a long time coming. “I give credit to President Joe Biden for honoring his word and nominating a Black woman,” as he promised on the campaign trail, she said. “The impact of the movement and the organizing of Black women has played a role in our democracy. We have been the justice seekers, the truth tellers.”
Jackson Lee, an attorney who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, concurred. She cited the trajectory of history in terms of centuries of “discrimination” against Black women. “We don’t wear that. We wear opportunity. But still, you cannot deny it.”
The Congresswoman said Judge Jackson represents the long fight for “equality” Black women have endured in the U.S. and “gives affirmation to our burden. Our toiling, cleaning toilets, our raising children, our low wages…almost our inability to survive but we are surviving.”
When she is seated “in that chair” on the high court, said Jackson Lee, “she will represent the best of America.”
Additionally, lawmakers such as Al Green (D-TX) and Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) attended the hearings. Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) will be among those testifying on Day 4 to profess her support for Judge Jackson’s nomination. So will The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and NOBLE, a Black law enforcement organization.
“I expect she will reach final confirmation by the end of this work period,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Sources told ESSENCE the vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee will occur on Monday, April 4. The Senate will then take a series of procedural votes that week to bring the nomination to the Senate floor. The final vote could occur on the Senate floor anytime between Thursday, April 7 or over the weekend Saturday (April 8).