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HomeVideoWatch: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s opening statement in Supreme Court confirmation hearings

Watch: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s opening statement in Supreme Court confirmation hearings

In the opening remarks of her Supreme Court confirmation hearings on March 21, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson stressed that if confirmed, she would “work productively to support and defend the Constitution and this grand experiment of American democracy that has endured over these past 246 years.”

Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden in February to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman on the high court.

In her statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she pointed back to nearly a decade of experience as a judge. “I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously. I decide cases from a neutral posture, I evaluate the facts and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me without fear or favor consistent with my judicial oath,” she said.

“I know my role as a judge is a limited one. That the Constitution empowers me only to decide cases and controversies that are properly presented. And I know that my judicial role is further restrained by careful adherence to precedent,” she added.

Jackson introduced some of her family who had traveled to support her during the confirmation process, including her mother, father, husband, brother, in-laws and her two daughters. She recounted how her parents moved north from Florida to Washington, D.C., to “experience new freedom.”

She said her interest in the judiciary came from her father, who studied at the University of Miami School of Law when she was a child. She recalled sitting across from him at the table, coloring in coloring books as he studied.

“My parents taught me that unlike the many barriers that they had had to face growing up, my path was clearer. So that if I worked hard and I believed in myself and America I could do anything or be anything I wanted to be,” Jackson said.

Jackson thanked one of her mentors, a debate teacher, for sparking her interest in Harvard University after bringing her to the school for a speech competition. And she noted that she would be replacing another of her former mentors, Justice Stephen Breyer, for whom she clerked.

“He … exemplifies what it means to be a Supreme Court justice of the highest level of skill and integrity, civility and grace. It is extremely humbling to be considered for Justice Breyer’s seat and I know that I could never fill his shoes, but if confirmed, I would hope to carry on his spirit,” she said.

Jackson will face questions from the judiciary committee starting Tuesday.

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