Black Women Elated By Jackson's Confirmation To US Supreme Court, Yet Some Fear Backlash

Black Women Elated by Jackson's Confirmation to US Supreme Court, Yet Some Fear Backlash

The Senate confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court marks a historic moment for Black women and a hard-fought win against hostile forces, but vigilance is warranted because backlash often accompanies progress, activists told Sputnik

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 08th April, 2022) The Senate confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court marks a historic moment for Black women and a hard-fought win against hostile forces, but vigilance is warranted because backlash often accompanies progress, activists told Sputnik.

Jackson will be the first African-American woman to sit on the US Supreme Court in its 232-year history as a result of Thursday's Senate confirmation vote. She replaces Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, who announced that he was stepping down earlier this year.

The final confirmation vote was 53 to 47, with all 50 Democrats voting for Jackson, joined by Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins.

Jackson, 51, will be the first justice on the court who brings experience as a public defender since Justice Thurgood Marshall stepped down in 1991. Nominated by President Joe Biden, Jackson spent eight years on the US District Court for DC before she rose to the DC Court of Appeals last year.

Jackson has more legal experience than four of her soon-to-be colleagues had when they were nominated, according to experts.

"She got confirmed! She got confirmed," said Kami Chavis, a former Assistant US Attorney for the District of Columbia and director of the Criminal Justice Program at Wake Forest University school of Law. "It is a really wonderful moment for our country because there is a Black woman Supreme Court Justice chosen not so much for the color of her skin but for her intellect and view of the world from her judicial lens."

Jackson is a fabulous jurist who is held in the highest regard for her intellect and integrity, she told Sputnik.

"I am also glad that someone will be on the court with a criminal justice defense background as we begin to see transformation happening in the criminal justice system. There may be opportunities for change through case law," Chavis said.

In the midst of her delight, Chavis said, she is deeply disappointed at the disrespect and hostility Jackson had to swallow from Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Lindsay Graham, and Tom Cotton. And then only three Republicans voted for her confirmation despite her impeccable credentials, soaring intellect and calm demeanor.

"It's unfortunate but I'm not surprised. I think we had the opportunity to see them as they really are during the confirmation process - it leaves a lot to be desired," Chavis told Sputnik.

The most important aspect of all this, Chavis and other Black women professionals said, is that despite all the impediments and difficulties Jackson encountered, including 23 hours being grilled by hostile Republicans, Thursday's confirmation was still historic.

US Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to be elected vice president, in her capacity as president of the Senate, presided over the landmark vote. After Harris banged the gavel - a broad smile lighting up her face - Democratic senators stood up cheering and clapping giving Jackson, the occasion, and maybe themselves, a standing ovation while Republicans silently filed out of the Senate chamber.

Spotlight PR founder and author Jennifer Farmer described Jackson's confirmation as momentous.

"It's hugely important for Black woman and girls to see someone who looks like them on the Supreme Court," Farmer said.

Farmer, author of the book, "First and Only: A Black Woman's Guide to Thriving at Work and in Life," said it was painful to see Jackson treated the way she was, but that is all the more reason to actively support her. Both Harris and Jackson will need support because their work is "just beginning," she added.

"We have to be vigilant, watchful and willing to call out elected officials or the media and with regards to Cruz, Graham, Cotton and others... (and) our white allies must be willing to call them out because of their beyond unacceptable behavior," Farmer said.

Chavis and Farmer said every Black woman or woman of color has stories about being constantly second-guessed, belittled, overlooked or marginalized in the workplace and like Jackson, women are often socialized and not given the space to show anger or to push back against the disrespect, misogynoir or marginalization from their white bosses or co-workers.

"Judge Jackson could not respond the way most people would, but she handled it elegantly and with grace which is a testament to her temperament," Chavis said.

Phyllis Hill said she believes that the hand of God and the ancestors led to this outcome.

"I feel jubilation," said Hill, national organizing director of Faith in Action and founder of the Black Southern Women's Collaborative. "There's nothing like being in the middle of a work day and receiving tons of texts about Judge Jackson's confirmation. I see this as a spiritual matter. I see someone who looks like me but it's not about one person. It's faith and works."

Hill said Jackson ticked all the boxes and God and the ancestors ensured that this good work would come to pass.

"I say praise to God and to her for a job well done. Black women know how to lead, Black women are prepared to lead. Watch out!" said Hill. "I am, however, disheartened. It was maddening to see the malicious, greedy, 'for their own delight' and political ambition antics. They are trying to regain their seats or run for the presidency. They have shown us that their white supremacist tendencies are always on display. They passed this test at Judge Jackson's spiritual, emotional and physical expense."

Both Hill and Farmer said African Americans should prepare for the inevitable white backlash that comes on the heels of any notable Black achievement or progress or as seen since 2020, the strenuous and forceful resistance to widespread demands for social justice after George Floyd was murdered.

"We need to brace for the backlash because with any Black historic progress comes backlash. We saw it when Barack Obama was elected," Farmer warned. "We should be prepared but not surprised when this happens. As with the anti-Critical Race Theory backlash, we know it's coming."