I always believed Ketanji Brown Jackson would be confirmed. The condescension and disrespect she had to endure to get here—and the grace she displayed in response—only made me respect her more.

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they conduct themselves under fire. Her conduct showed us strength and confidence and calm—all qualities that will serve her well as she takes her place alongside Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Carol Moseley Braun, the Rices—Condoleezza and Susan—Michelle Obama, Loretta Lynch, Kamala Harris, and the many, many not as famous but just as courageous and capable Black women who were, in their own fields and in their own times, the first.

judge ketanji brown jackson watches confirmation hearing with president biden
Brown Jackson watched the Senate confirmation hearing with President Biden.
Bloomberg/Getty Images

Being the first is never easy. You feel the expectations of all who pray for your success and the eyes of all who would doom you to fail. You feel the weight. But I have no doubt that Ketanji Brown Jackson will carry that weight lightly. That she’ll rise to every challenge. Just as she has already shown she can rise above.

All through the confirmation hearings—especially when I saw young Leila Jackson looking at her mom with such pride—I found myself thinking about parents. Particularly parents of Black children, particularly parents of Black girls—how, for them, Ketanji Brown Jackson is reason to celebrate. A thrilling new example—new living proof—of what is possible. A new chance to turn to their child and say, “You are possible.”

So thank you, Justice-to-be Jackson. Your accomplishment is indeed, as Cory Booker and Chuck Schumer both proclaimed, cause for joy.

And congratulations to Johnny and Ellery Brown: Your daughter did good.

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preview for Clarified: How Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is making history
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