Gideon’s Promise joins the many voices committed to the promise of equal justice in applauding President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. This historic nomination matters for so many reasons. As a young girl, who watched my father processed through the criminal legal system and sentenced to ten years in Attica, I learned that the quality of service people like my father received mirrored what the criminal legal system really thought about people in my community—they simply did not matter. The nomination of the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court tells communities like mine that representation matters and their voices finally will be heard.
As the Executive Director of an organization that supports public defenders, the lawyers responsible for making sure our Constitutional rights are applied to every person regardless of their station in life, I know how discouraging it is to these advocates when their experience is routinely devalued. The nomination of the first public defender to serve on the Supreme Court sends an important message about the value of lawyers who dedicate their lives to those who are most vulnerable.
As the parent of children who will inherit the world we shape today, I long for a tomorrow where individuals can live freely without fear of a Government that is abusive towards those it governs. As a former public defender, Judge Jackson understands how the Court’s decisions impact the way police interact with people. This experience suggests she will appropriately value human dignity and individual liberty, concepts at the foundation of our democracy. These are not liberal ideals or conservative ideals; they are American ideals.
I hope the nation can coalesce around this nomination, recognizing that the experiential diversity that Judge Jackson will bring to the Court will make us stronger as a nation.
Executive Director, Gideon’s Promise