Jackson’s Confirmation to SCOTUS Is A Victory for All Minority Women; But Improving Inequality Still Needs Work

The confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court is a historic moment that all Americans should be celebrating, especially communities of color: Black, Asian, and Hispanic Americans. Brown will be the first African American woman to serve SCOTUS since it was founded in 1789.

Her ascension and confirmation reveal that we as a nation, as a society have finally reached a level of maturity and progress for an eminently qualified jurist – no matter the color of her skin – is able to serve in the highest court of the land.

This historic moment doesn’t wipe out prejudice that is clearly still present. But it says that there is at least enough like-minded Americans in this time in history who believe in fairness, enough to break a streak of hundreds of years of discrimination. This confirmation is long overdue and Jackson will serve as a role model for Black and females of color for generations.

Toxic confirmation process
During the extremely toxic partisan confirmation hearings that had Republicans disrespecting her, misrepresenting her record for political gain, Jackson was able to keep her confidence high and responded to unfair questions with calm and strength. This shows that besides having a stellar resume and experience, Jackson has a temperament fitting of an ideal judge.

The hearings were particularly disgraceful when you consider that all of the offensive questions and misleading conclusions were fielded by White male politicians. And taking a look at the history of SCOTUS where it wasn’t until 1967 when for a first time a Black American in Thurgood Marshall served in the Supreme Court and all justices prior were White men – one cannot help but interpret the mudslinging of Jackson as historic sexism and historic racism at play.

Through mischaracterizations during the confirmation hearings, Jackson kept above the one-sided spectacle (Republican senators simply were looked upon as oppressors). Her calm actually saved her from becoming media fodder and a controversial nominee as was the combative Brett Kavanaugh. Jackson successfully avoided the political snare that most likely made her a non-controversial figure by the end of the hearings and perhaps made it possible for the three moderate Republicans – Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – to vote their conscience and support Jackson’s confirmation.

A more diverse court expands perspective
How will Jackson’s confirmation specifically benefit all Americans? With her confirmation SCOTUS is now more representative of our country, our nation’s diverse racial-ethnic makeup. Diversity (Jackson is also younger than those currently on SCOTUS) translates to a court that will render a wider interpretation of the law based on more jurists coming from different backgrounds. Ultimately this most likely will lead to laws that a greater majority of Americans can approve of and deem to be fairer.

Who’s next? An Asian-American to SCOTUS
And as Jackson has finally shattered a glass ceiling of an institution that for hundreds of years were mostly exclusively White and male — there is hope that representation at SCOTUS will soon include an Asian American.

Already, there are SCOTUS-level qualified Asian Americans serving as judges at this very moment. But just like it was for Black women who’ve had qualified members in their community for years, the opportunity will present itself. Hopefully sooner than later.

And even as the gap of race and gender inequalities have yet to close, with Jackson’s confirmation we are closer to the aspiration we have as a nation and as protected in our Constitution of equal protection under the law. So it shouldn’t mean that Asian Americans should have to wait hundreds of years for such an opportunity to have one of our own seated at the highest court of the land.

Cause for celebration, but more work needs to be done
Jackson is the daughter of a federal judge. While she is a woman of color, Jackson has had privileges in her upper-middle-class upbringing many other women of color did not have.

Jackson received a high-quality education with college-preparatory curricula that helped her to get accepted to and succeed at Harvard University.

Research shows a student’s zip code or upbringing is strongly correlated with career success, especially in professional occupations. In fact, parents’ educational attainment is often identified as the most important factor predicting the educational achievement of students. Research also shows households headed by college-educated parents tend to provide greater economic, emotional and social stability.

So until the income inequality gap gets tighter, schools in low income neighborhoods are improved, and real upward mobility where racism is kept to an absolute minimum or no longer exists ideally – young women of color, while they may have dreams to be like Brown and succeed at the highest level in their chosen professions, it may just be a dream if such conditions above are not systemically improved.

But at this point in time, Americans are right to feel joyous and celebrate our gains.

The possibilities for career greatness for a wider spectrum of our nation’s population have become further apparent in Brown’s confirmation.

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