Local attorney reflects on historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

LaFonda Middleton, a local lawyer and co-chair of the D.W. Perkins Bar Association's Diversity Council, explains the importance of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation and the struggle for representation.

It was a historic moment 230 years in the making. The Senate voted to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first woman Supreme Court Justice. All you have to do is look to history to understand why the moment is so auspicious. It wasn’t until 1967 when then-President Lyndon Johnson appointed Thurgood Marshall to the nation’s highest court that presidents only selected white men to serve as justices.

For hundreds of years, race and gender not only defined court membership, but also the court’s decisions. LaFonda Middleton, a local lawyer and co-chair of the D.W. Perkins Bar Association’s Diversity Council, views this moment in history as auspicious.

“I am so thankful that we have finally gotten to the point where we truly have representation on the Supreme Court,” said Middleton. “We truly have diversity. The Supreme Court now really looks like our nation.”

Brandeis University Professor Anita Hill calls this an important cultural moment for the court in the country.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama thanked the judge for giving Black women and girls “a new dream to dream, a new path to forge and a future we can be hopeful for.”

“She can further inspire by inspiring young Black girls young girls and general young lawyers, young law students into aspiring to achieve that dream that we all, I may have,” said Middleton. “But before Judge Brown Jackson, we weren’t sure that dream was actually attainable. It was just that a dream. Now it is, it is absolutely attainable. She has shown us that and it gives us hope for our future.”

Justice Brown-Jackson certainly shattered a racial glass ceiling. Middleton said the fact that she is the first justice in decades to have worked as a lawyer representing poor criminal defendants and a lifetime of public service could add a new perspective to the court’s deliberations.

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