President Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Friday. If confirmed, Jackson, currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, would be the first Black Woman to serve on the Court as well as the first former public defender to serve on the Court in modern history. (She also partnered with Matt Damon during an undergraduate drama class at Harvard University, and her husband’s twin brother is married to former GOP House speaker Paul Ryan’s wife’s sister.)
Jackson has ruled on multiple environmental cases as a federal judge, including a decision against environmentalists’ in 2017 over Deepwater Horizon’s drilling permits and, and for the environment in a ruling against the Trump administration on air pollution standards. “I obviously did disagree with the analysis and conclusion, but she did give us a fair hearing,” Kristen Monsell, the Center for Biological Diversity attorney who argued the Deepwater Horizon case, told Politico. Jackson would replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, for whom she clerked and would not substantially change the balance of power in the Supreme Court dominated by conservative justices, five of whom were nominated by presidents who lost the popular vote when first elected to office.
Dark money opposition
Even before Biden nominated Jackson, the dark money-funded Judicial Crisis Network, which played a significant role in installing Trump’s nominees to the bench, began preemptively attacking Biden’s eventual, as-yet-unnamed nominee as a “liberal activist” and “rubber stamp.”. The campaign was described by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse as “Putin-type mirroring propaganda, in which you accuse your adversary of exactly what you’re doing.” (Nomination: The Root, Atlanta Black Star, Jezebel, SCOTUSblog, New York Times $, E&E News, CNN, Washington Post $; Environmental law rulings: Politico, Grist; Upcoming environmental cases: E&E News; Public defender experience: New York Times $, Esquire, New York Magazine $, Roll Call; Dark Money attacks: Insider; Matt Damon: New York Times $)