Supreme Court’s recent move has allowed Justice Ketjani Jackson to participate in a case that could lead to the end of using race in college admissions.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that after a case involving Harvard’s admissions policy was joined to a similar lawsuit involving the University Of North Carolina, the Supreme Court split the race in the college admissions case. The split has allowed Jackson–the first Black woman appointed to the Supreme court–to hear arguments and vote in the case. However, being that the court has a 6-3 conservative majority that is skeptical of race being a role in education, among other things, her vote is unlikely to make an impact.
Jackson pledged to sit out the case because she was a member of the university’s school board. She pledged during her confirmation hearing, as she joined the court on June 30 following Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement.
Jackson, a Harvard graduate, served as a Harvard Board of Overseers member from 2016 to 2022. According to the school’s official website, its board aims to provide “counsel to the University’s leadership on priorities, plans, and strategic initiatives.”
The magistrate’s ties to the Ivy League university were heavily criticized that federal law has required that all judges excuse themselves from cases in which their “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
Thankfully, Jackson can now participate in the case, which could determine the fate of affirmative action policies across the U.S.
In May, she opened up to the Washington Post about the pressure of being the first Black female justice.
“I’m embodying this progress that many people feel we’re making by having me appointed to this seat. And so it’s pretty daunting in a lot of ways…I feel prepared because I’ve been one of a handful of African Americans doing what I do at this level for a while. It’s not unfamiliar to me to be a ‘first’ or an ‘only’ or whatever small group of people who are performing in legal circles like this — obviously nothing like as momentous as this.”