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Sarasota attorney says first Black woman Supreme Court Justice could be a pivotal moment in history

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
Posted at 7:13 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 19:13:38-04

SARASOTA, Fla. — It's a historic moment as senate hearings are underway for the potential first Black woman Supreme Court Justice.

"I think that it's important for all Americans," said Jade Davis, an attorney at Shumaker Law Firm in Sarasota.

Jade Davis, attorney at Shumaker Law Firm in Sarasota

Davis said being a black woman serving in America's predominately white male judicial system has been challenging.

"We have a lot of barriers as women and then when you layer race on top of that it becomes even more excluding," said Davis.

So excluding that in its 232-year history, only seven of the 115 U.S Supreme Court Justices have not been white men.

"Diversity isn’t only important for the diverse group that’s being represented, but it's also so people can see those individuals in those positions and accept them," said Davis.

This week the senate judiciary committee began confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who President Biden has chosen to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, which would make her the first Black woman to ever serve as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a law professor at Stetson University, said the conservative-liberal balance on the court would still remain 6 to 3.

"But over the long term, it could have an enormous impact," said Torres-Spelliscy.

But some have criticized the judge for her past role as a public defender. On Monday the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers released a statement in her support saying in part:

“Judge Jackson should not be criticized or shamed for serving as a Federal Public Defender. Her wide-ranging legal experience makes her even more qualified to sit on the Supreme Court."

Regardless Davis said more diversity like a Black woman on the Supreme Court is what our country needs.

"If a black woman is on the supreme court, it's a symbol of what America is and what America should be," said Davis.

Democrats hope to confirm Jackson before the middle of April. She is not expected to be fully sworn in for duty on the high court until July, once Justice Breyer retires.