Members of the legal community react to Justice Ketanji Jackson’s confirmation to the US Supreme Court
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — Members of the New Orleans legal community reacted to the unfolding story when the U.S. Senate confirmed Federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. Jackson will be the first African-American woman to serve on the high court.
“This vote the yes is 53, the no is 47 and this nomination is confirmed,” announced Vice President Kamala Harris.
Judge Jennifer Medley is a judge in Orleans Parish Civil Court.
FOX 8 interviewed her shortly after the historic vote on Capitol Hill.
“It was exciting, it was definitely a rollercoaster, but it’s exciting with a mix of hope,” Medley said.
Jackson’s parents were teachers before his father earned a law degree after he was born.
Medley was asked about the importance of perspective Jackson will bring to the court.
“Many times I look at myself and think about this, you know, we grew up on North Claiborne Avenue near Claiborne and Louisa and when I look at who our new Supreme Court Justice will be, there are so many similarities and I think when you get that mix that the 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 the same background, ordinary people,” Medley said.
Like Jackson, Medley is a mother. She referenced her daughter when talking about what it means to her to have a black woman in the highest court in the land and how hard work pays off.
“You know, I think more than just being an African American woman myself, on top of that, you know, as a mother of a young girl that I always say is looking up to me, that gives me not just the hope that everything our ancestors told us that if you work hard you can achieve it. I see it coming to fruition. I feel like I see it coming to fruition and when I talk to my daughter, I feel like this is yet another example of, if you work hard and do the right thing, you can accomplish anything,” Medley said.
Medley says she’s also proud of the members of Congress who supported Jackson’s historic nomination.
“I am proud of the country. I’m proud of Congress, I’m proud that they recognize this woman has earned the right to be where she is,” Medley said.
And she said it was a big deal that Jackson received bipartisan support.
“It’s inspiring on every level. It’s inspiring for boys, for girls to see that kind of diversity,” Medley said.
At Tulane Law School, African-American students were thrilled.
Ania Smith is president of the Black Law School Association of Tulane.
“It means so much to see this kind of legal milestone as a black woman in law school and as a black woman in this country where we have seen so much adversity and where our voices are not always heard. by law,” Smith said.
Others were equally thrilled.
Clarke Perkins is also pursuing law school at Tulane.
“It is sometimes very difficult to put into words. I have feelings similar to those I had when I was in 7th grade when President Barack Obama was elected, but even more so as a black woman studying law,” Perkins said.
She mingled with Smith and fellow law student Desmond Sims on the porch of law school.
“I think this is an exciting time in history. I think seeing the first black woman on the Supreme Court is a step in the right direction,” Sims said.
And law school students said having an African-American woman on the nation’s highest court would help them dream bigger.
“The sky is the ceiling and I truly believe that as black women we should just dream big and think big and be able to see a black woman who looks like me and like my mom, my grandmother and my cousins, to being able to see that or her in the highest office just gives me the motivation that I can accomplish what I want to accomplish,” Perkins said.
“It makes me believe there is hope in America in that black people can find a place in every avenue; we’re not confined to a certain box anymore,” Sims said.
Justice Medley agrees that Jackson’s presence on the Supreme Court will impact many things, including her own daughter. “I think my message to her, even when I tell her to work hard and you can achieve anything, she has more examples, but here’s another example of what mom says at home rings so strong and so true. “, said Medley.
She said she can’t wait to pick up her daughter from school to talk about Judge Jackson’s confirmation and show her pictures.
Republicans Susan Collins, Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski joined Democrats in confirming Jackson. The two US senators from Louisiana, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, both Republicans, did not vote to confirm Jackson.
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