Alabama’s first Black federal judge, Uriah W. Clemon, advised President Joe Biden not to nominate Washington D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Clemon penned a letter to the president on Friday, Feb. 4, saying he shouldn’t appoint Jackson.
“I strongly believe that Circuit Judge Ketjani Brown Jackson should not be appointed by you as the first Black female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,” he wrote.
He even said he’s happy about Biden’s decision to nominate the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court. The president announced the fantastic news in January as he honored retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer at the White House. He has been set to reveal who will take the position at the end of February.
“As one who has labored in the vineyards of civil rights all his life, I rejoice in your determination to appoint the first black female to the United States Supreme Court,” Clemon said. “In the tradition of Thurgood Marshall, hopefully, she will stand tall for equal justice for all and equality in the workplace.”
However, according to his letter, he felt Jackson didn’t deserve the position due to her conduct during a 2016 lawsuit, Ross v. Lockheed.
The class-action suit was filed against Lockheed Martin on behalf of 5,500 Black employees who accused the company of discriminating against African American workers, among other things.
“Lockheed has…engaged in a pattern or practice of systemic, intentional discrimination against African-American salaried employees,” the lawsuit said.
Jackson reportedly declined to approve an already negotiated settlement that would have awarded $22 million to the plaintiffs. Clemon hammered his point home when he said that the money would have “addressed a root cause of systemic racial bias that could have been a model for a nation hungry for racial equity solutions.”
He also told Biden to take what each aspirant has done for “justice and equality” into consideration as he searched for someone to appoint to the “highest court of the land.”
Jackson’s spokesperson reportedly said that Clemon served as counsel at Mehri & Skalet, representing the Ross v. Lockheed case plaintiffs.
The 78-year-old later said that the White House had not yet responded to his letter. However, they issued a statement confirming that Jackson would be under consideration.
“It’s because of Judge Jackson’s experience in roles at all levels of the justice system, her character, and her legal brilliance that President Biden nominated her to the D.C. Circuit Court, after which she earned her third Senate confirmation, and he’s very proud of that decision,” Andrew Bates, Deputy Press Secretary, wrote.
The 51-year-old served as a United States District Judge from 2013 to 2017 and was a Vice-Chair and Commissioner on the United States Sentencing Commission from 2013 to 2014. Then, in 2021, she became a United States Circuit Judge.
In 1980, Clemons was appointed as Alabama’s first Black federal judge by then-President, Jimmy Carter. He served as the Chief Judge of the Court from 1999 to 2006. As a young teen, he marched in Civil Rights demonstrations alongside Martin Luther King Jr.