Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 22, 2022.
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 22, 2022.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is undergoing one of the most brutal but necessary intellectual exercises that any professional might experience as she sits through her fourth day of questioning before the Senate confirmation hearing to qualify her for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed, Jackson will be the first African American woman named a Supreme Court Justice and the first from Washington, D.C.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has plenty to say about Jackson’s nomination. In a press release she issued before the hearing began, she reminded residents that she recommended Jackson to President Barack Obama for her seat on the U.S. District Court for D.C.

Like so many others, Norton celebrates the fact that a “homegirl,” though not raised in D.C., has a real opportunity to sit on the highest court of the land.  

“District of Columbia residents take great pride in seeing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, whom I recommended to President Obama for the U.S. District Court for D.C., nominated for the Supreme Court, the highest court in our nation,” Norton said in a recent press release.  

“Judge Jackson, who was born in the District, lives in the District, and was a public defender in the District, is the first Black woman ever nominated to the Supreme Court. I have full faith in Judge Jackson’s considerable abilities and sense of fairness. I look forward to seeing her embark on a new chapter of important work on behalf of our country,” Norton said.

But it is still unfathomable to believe that the members of the Senate participating in the confirmation hearings have the power to represent their state and vote along with senators representing every other state, except the District of Columbia, on Jackson’s confirmation.  It is yet another reminder of the political powerlessness and lack of influence D.C. residents have in the House and the Senate because D.C. is not a state.

In her press release, Norton stated it plainly, “Today also reminds us of the stark reality that despite Judge Jackson’s connections to D.C., without statehood, the District has no senators and, therefore, will play no role in her confirmation.”

“No role,” Norton concluded. If not now, then when will more D.C. residents and constituents across the country rise to ensure the District has a role, a voice, and a vote?

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1 Comment

  1. Yes this is too true that DC residents are locked out of one of the most historic votes in he history of the United States Senate without DC Statehood we are still by-standers to history. Still not real full citizens ; still by-standers relegated to being denied the reality of celebration for our sister Kelanji, new and only Black female justice nominee to the Supreme Court. DC Statehood is essential to our full citizenship rights.

    Anise Jenkins, Executive Director, Stand Up! for Democracy in DC (Free DC)

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