Members of the legal community react to Judge Ketanji Jackson’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 6:28 PM CDT
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The confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee will continue for 4 days.
The confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee will continue for 4 days.(Arizona's Family)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Members of the New Orleans legal community reacted to history being made when the U.S. Senate confirmed federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. Jackson will be the first African American female seated on the high court.

“This vote the yeas are 53, the nays are 47 and this nomination is confirmed,” announced Vice President Kamala Harris.

Judge Jennifer Medley is a judge at Orleans Parish Civil Court.

FOX 8 interviewed her shortly after the history-making vote on Capitol Hill.

“It was exciting, it’s definitely been a roller coaster but it’s exciting with a mix of hope,” said Medley.

Jackson’s parents were school teachers before her dad earned a law degree after her birth.

Medley was asked about the importance of the perspective Jackson will bring to the court.

“Many times I look at myself and I think about that, you know, we grew up on North Claiborne Avenue, near Claiborne and Louisa and when I look at who will be our new Supreme Court justice there are so many similarities and I think that when you get that mix that level of diversity adds, there’s a human factor that it adds, it adds compassion, it adds an understanding, you know, for people who come from that same walk of life, everyday people,” said Medley.

Like Jackson, Medley is a mother. She referenced her daughter in speaking about what it means to her to have a black female on the nation’s highest court and how hard work pays off.

“You know, I think more than just an African American female myself, in addition to that, you know, as a mother to a young daughter who I always say looks up to me, it not only gives me hope that everything that our ancestors told us about that if you work hard, you can achieve this. I’m seeing this come to fruition. I feel like I’m seeing it come to fruition and when I talk to my daughter, I feel like this is yet another example of, if you work hard and you do the right thing you can achieve anything,” Medley stated.

Medley says she is also proud of members of Congress who backed Jackson’s historic nomination.

“I’m proud of the country. I’m proud of Congress, I’m, proud of them recognizing that this woman earned the right to be where she is,” said Medley.

And she said it is a big deal that Jackson received bipartisan support.

“It’s inspirational on every level. It’s inspirational to boys, to girls to see this kind of diversity,” said Medley.

At Tulane Law School, African American students were ecstatic.

Ania Smith is President of the Black Law School Association at Tulane.

“It means so much to see this kind of milestone in the legal field as a black woman in law school and as a black woman in this country where we’ve seen so much adversity and our voices aren’t always heard by the law,” said Smith.

Others were equally as thrilled.

Clarke Perkins is also pursuing a law degree at Tulane.

“It’s really hard to put into words sometimes. I have similar feelings that I had when I was in the 7th grade when President Barack Obama was elected to office but even more so as a black woman going through law school,” said Perkins.

She mingled with Smith and fellow law school student Desmond Sims on the porch of the law school.

“I think this is an exciting time in history. I think seeing the first black woman in the Supreme Court is a step in the right direction,” said Sims.

And the law school students said having an African American woman ascend to the highest court in the land will help them dream bigger.

“The sky is the ceiling and I truly believe that we as black women should just dream big and think big and being able to see a black woman that looks like me and looks like my mom and my grandmom and my cousins, to be able to see that or her in the highest office just gives me the motivation that I can accomplish what it is that I want to accomplish,” said Perkins.

“It makes me believe that there is hope in America as far as black people being able to find a place in every avenue; we’re not confined to a certain box anymore,” said Sims.

Judge Medley agrees having Jackson on the Supreme Court will be impactful in many ways, including on her own daughter. “I think that my message to her, even when I tell her to work hard and you can achieve anything she has more examples, yet here is another example of what mom says at home rings so loud and true,” said Medley.

She said she could not wait to pick up her daughter from school to talk about the confirmation of Judge Jackson and show her photos.

Republicans Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and Lisa Murkowski joined Democrats in confirming Jackson. Louisiana’s two U.S. Senators, Bill Cassidy, and John Kennedy, both Republicans did not vote to confirm Jackson.

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