The Freedom From Religion Foundation looks forward to the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s just-announced nominee to replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Brown Jackson is a highly experienced judge and will bring the high court closer to a place where it truly represents all Americans and stands up for the rights of all.
In particular, FFRF is hopeful that Brown Jackson will help the Supreme Court return to its role of safeguarding the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. Retiring Justice Breyer had an inconsistent record on this crucial issue, and in recent years the court has veered away from protecting Americans’ right to a secular government in favor of advancing religious and ideological views.
When confirmed, Brown Jackson, 51, will become the first Black woman to serve on the court, chipping away at the massive divide between the court’s makeup and the makeup of the country whose rights the court is tasked with protecting. The Harvard Law School grad clerked for Breyer himself and was recently tapped to fill the seat left by now-Attorney General Merrick Garland on the influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. With a strong track record as a public defender, followed by years as a trial judge before being appointed to the prestigious appeals court, Brown Jackson will stand as a strong example of what a Supreme Court justice should be. Jackson Brown will add a second Black justice and the fourth woman to the high court.
“This is a huge day for Black women in the United States, and in the legal profession specifically,” comments FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert. “We’re confident that Brown Jackson will be a staunch advocate for the fundamental rights of all Americans, including the separation between state and church.”
Brown Jackson’s top-tier qualifications and commitment to equal justice are well established, and FFRF has every reason to think she will maintain this strong commitment while on the nation’s top court. The Supreme Court, currently dominated by a supermajority of extremists, is in need of a major course correction.
“The current Supreme Court is essentially broken, and we need to be honest about that to move toward fixing it,” points out Andrew Seidel, FFRF’s director of strategic response. “The hyperconservative takeover of the court is already laying waste to the legal landscape, ignoring precedent and trampling hard-fought rights. Justice Brown Jackson will be a breath of fresh air on the court, but the court has been too thoroughly taken over for one justice to fix.”
FFRF emphasizes the need for court reform throughout the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, to limit the damage already being done to constitutional protections for voters, rights of conscience, women’s reproductive rights and the LGBTQ community.
“This nomination is most welcome news,” adds FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Brown Jackson will help the court regain its bearings and ensure that all Americans, not just a select few, enjoy liberty and justice for all.”
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