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Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings provide many moments for reflection

By: Bridgetower Media Newswires//April 20, 2022//

Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings provide many moments for reflection

By: Bridgetower Media Newswires//April 20, 2022//

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Dane County Judge Nia Trammell

The emotional kaleidoscope of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing was nothing short of amazing. It was truly an exercise that allowed many of us to experience a range of emotions through a magnificently beautiful lens, as we witnessed the confirmation of our country’s first African-American female to the United States Supreme Court.

Who didn’t catch the glimmers of hope as the future Supreme Court Justice recounted her childhood memories of sitting alongside her father as he lost himself in stacks of law books, while she colored away in her stack of coloring books? While at first blush this may have the semblance of a mere serendipitous moment, the seed was being planted. The power of that imagery; this type of exposure undoubtedly has the potential to mold a young mind and motivate a child. That she would someday become a judge and eventually a Justice sitting on the highest court of the United States now seems destined.

We empathized as Judge Brown Jackson described feeling distant and disconnected when she first arrived on Harvard’s campus. It is all too familiar for some, to be in spaces and places where you feel that you do not belong; it can be crippling. Though that single instant could have defined her, just minutes later, Judge Brown Jackson recalled crossing paths with an African-American woman on campus who simply told her, “persevere.” This encounter ignited a fire in our future Supreme Court Justice and was enough to remind her of the task at hand. She understood the assignment.

Who could ignore the words painted by speaker after speaker praising Judge Brown Jackson for being so supremely and eminently qualified for the role? The pride that many of us felt was overwhelming as we listened, particularly to Senator Cory Booker as he gave a panoply of reasons why Judge Brown Jackson is deserving of such an esteemed position in our legal system. In his impassioned speech and in a mic drop like fashion, Senator Booker nailed it: “You got here how every Black woman in America who’s gotten anywhere has done, by being, like Ginger Rogers said, ‘I did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards in heels.’” His words still resonate loudly for many women. We not only witnessed Judge Brown Jackson’s tears, but we also shared them. The sense of validation and affirmation was truly remarkable.

Let’s not forget that iconic image captured by New York Times photography fellow Sarahbeth Maney during the first day of confirmation hearings. It spoke volumes of the admiration Leila Jackson has for her mother. Our hearts were warmed as we captured Judge Brown Jackson’s testament of the unconditional love for her daughters: “(g)irls, I know it has not been easy as I have tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I did not always get the balance right. But I hope that you have seen that with hard work, determination, and love, it can be done … I love you so much.” It felt as if there was an exhale heard from many women across the world. Without question, many career-oriented women often reach that proverbial fork in the road where they must make tough choices about the allocation of their time between family, work, and community. We understood what it meant for her to don that cape with a smile on her face while balancing her professional life, her civic life, and most importantly her home life.”

And then, came the vote that will now be etched in the annals of American history. The 53-47 vote by the United States Senate confirming Judge Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court for many of us, particularly African-American female lawyers and judges, was monumental. It is a historic win for our country. After 232 years, we can celebrate a seat at the table –a meaningful seat at the table and the opportunity to brilliantly represent a diverse view from the highest bench in the land.

– Judge Nia Trammell, Dane County Circuit Court


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