‘Long Awaited,’ TSU Speaks Out on Appointment of First Black Woman to Land’s Highest Court


By Lucas Johnson

NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — When President Joe Biden nominated Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court, for many it was more than fulfilling a campaign promise. This historic decision, in the eyes of civil rights groups and women’s organizations, is considered “long overdue”.

Biden nominated Jackson on February 25. If confirmed, she would not only be the first African-American woman, but also the third black judge and sixth woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover, who is also vice chair of the President’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), says the appointment was long given the contributions of women to the success of the country and their influence on the judicial system in general.

“55 years ago, in 1967, Justice Thurgood Marshall – the first African American – was appointed to the nation’s High Court and 40 years ago, in 1981, when Justice Sandra Day O’Connor – the first woman – was appointed to the Supreme Court. Rather than a long wait, for many this appointment is long overdue,” says Dr Glover.

“There are countless black women in the legal field who have distinguished themselves as brilliant jurists, fierce advocates, and venerable jurists who have made enormous sacrifices to shape the laws of the land and help secure justice for all.”

Junior Brianna Lang is a political science major at Tennessee State University. The Atlanta native says she can’t wait to see someone on the Supreme Court who looks like her.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been interested in becoming a lawyer or a judge,” Lang says. “So seeing someone who looks like me, doing something that I want to do, just keeps me going and staying motivated. And that anything is possible.

Tiara Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi, says she is happy to see the Biden administration continue the cycle of “breaking glass ceilings,” referring to Vice President Kamala Harris as the first black woman to occupy this position in the White House.

“The nomination of the first African-American woman to the Supreme Court will be a big step in restoring public confidence in our justice system,” said Thomas, who is a student trustee on TSU’s board of trustees. “Little girls all over the world will see her and dream of being her one day.”

Since 1790, there have been 115 justices on the Supreme Court. Jackson’s confirmation would also, for the first time in history, see four women and two black judges sit on the High Court. Judge Clarence Thomas is the current African-American judge.

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, acting dean of TSU’s College of Liberal Arts and faculty member of women’s studies, says she also looks forward to the inspiration Jackson will provide to young people aspiring to enter the field. legal or judicial.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with many TSU students who have gone on to become successful attorneys,” says Morgan-Curtis. “I look forward to the first to become a judge. If confirmed, Judge Jackson opens up dreams of even greater possibilities for all those women in college.

TSU history professor Learotha Williams said Jackson’s nomination helps rectify a history of black women being overlooked for positions for which they are qualified.

“These ladies have to be fearless because they work in an environment that is still in many ways racist and sexist,” says Dr Williams. “Throughout their existence, black women have been judged. Laws were made that impacted them. But they were never at the top where they could interpret the laws. Judge Jackson may soon change that.

Jackson is expected to be confirmed before the Senate recess in April, and she could be sworn in in early July. She would replace outgoing Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer. The Supreme Court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority.

For more information about Women’s Studies at TSU’s College of Liberal Arts, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/cla/programs/womensstudies.aspx.

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