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SIU law professor discusses the Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination

The Supreme Court building of the United States.
Mark Thomas / Pixabay
Judge Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve in the history of the Court.

SIU law professor Cindy Buys said President Joe Biden's Supreme Court nominee— Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson— would bring a different perspective to the court.

Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and Buys said that lived experience would add diversity, as would Jackson's background.

"She also has a very diverse family background. She has, as has been reported in the media, an uncle who has served time in prison but she also has uncles who are law enforcement officers. So I think she has this broad range of exposure to different segments of society that could really benefit her when she gets to the bench in sort of understanding what people are experiencing in their lives," Buys said.

Buys says Jackson's history as a public defender would also be unique among the justices.

"That has exposed her to the criminal justice system in a very different way and given her a different perspective on how the system works, and frankly, how it doesn't work sometimes. The public defender system is underfunded and understaffed and that means that many criminal defendants do not get the same representation and resources that those who can afford to pay for an attorney might receive," she said.

Buys added that having a fourth woman on the court could make a big difference in the cases the court takes, because while it takes five justices to issue a decision, it only takes four to decide if the court will hear a case.

Steph Whiteside is a Digital Media News Specialist with WSIU radio in Carbondale, Ill. She previously worked as a general reporter at AJ+ and Current TV.
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