Jewish group endorses Biden’s pick for appeals judge, tipped for Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson gains backing of National Council of Jewish Women as she gears up for tough confirmation ahead of possible nomination to top bench

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaking at the annual Judge James B. Parsons Legacy Dinner, February 24, 2020. (CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikicago/Wikipedia)
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaking at the annual Judge James B. Parsons Legacy Dinner, February 24, 2020. (CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikicago/Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The National Council of Jewish Women is endorsing two of US President Joe Biden’s nominees to appeals courts, including one who is likely to face a tough confirmation because Biden is believed to want her to ascend to the Supreme Court on his watch.

The NCJW in letters Monday to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which first considers nominations, endorsed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a launching ground for Supreme Court justices. It also endorsed Candace Jackson-Akiwum, an attorney, to the Chicago-based 7th Circuit.

If Jackson advances and Biden then nominates her to the Supreme Court, she would likely replace Stephen Breyer, one of its two Jewish justices.

NCJW joins a battery of liberal groups and leading figures in pressing for Jackson’s confirmation.

Supreme Court watchers have said Biden is likely placing Jackson on the DC circuit because it deals with many of the issues that eventually reach the Supreme Court. The late Jewish justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was among the many judges who have transitioned from the DC circuit to the high court.

US Supreme Court justice gather for a formal group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, November 30, 2018. Seated from left: Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. Standing behind from left: Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Elena Kagan and Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Biden has also said he wants to name a Black woman to the court. Jackson is Black and, at 50, relatively young.

Ginsburg died on the eve of the November election, and former President Donald Trump and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, rushed through her replacement, Amy Coney Barrett, bringing the court’s conservative majority to 6-3. Breyer, 82, is considered a liberal, as is the other Jewish justice, Elena Kagan.

NCJW in its letters cites Jackson’s rulings in her current role on the DC District Court upholding the rights of workers to collective bargaining and government funding for a teen pregnancy prevention program.

Biden last week nominated 11 people to appellate court spots. Senate Republicans have already signaled that they will focus closely on Jackson because of the likelihood of her being on Biden’s Supreme Court shortlist.

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