Last week, President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court. Here is what working people across the country said about the nomination:
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler:
We applaud the historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Jackson has had a distinguished legal career, and she is eminently qualified for this critical lifetime position. Working people need a champion on the bench who will defend and protect our civil rights, including our right to organize in the workplace. Judge Jackson has a strong legal track record of fighting on behalf of working people, including during her tenure as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, D.C., and we are confident that she will bring that leadership to the highest court in the land. Representation matters and that is especially true in our nation’s legal system, which can disproportionately impact or lift up Black and Brown communities. Today’s nomination aligns with President Biden’s ongoing efforts to diversify the roster of individuals who are nominated and confirmed for the judiciary.
Being the first is never easy and Judge Jackson is doing what so many women have done before her, breaking barriers to ensure that she is not the last. We call on the U.S. Senate to deliver a speedy and fair confirmation process.
AFGE National President Everett Kelley:
We applaud President Biden for nominating Judge Jackson to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her previous work as a public defender, as an advocate for reforming our criminal sentencing laws, and prior judicial rulings show she will affirm the rights of regular American workers and everyday citizens while holding accountable those who break the law—even the most powerful among us.
While serving as U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia circuit, Judge Jackson issued a deciding ruling in a lawsuit brought by AFGE and a dozen other unions challenging a set of executive orders issued by the Trump administration that illegally denied workers their right to representation. That single ruling safeguarded federal workers’ union rights and demonstrated the limits of a corrupt administration. Her reasoning demonstrated exactly the kind of principled, independent judicial thinking that should be a hallmark of the highest court in our land.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders:
Representation matters. There have been 115 Supreme Court justices in the nation’s history, and not a single one has been an African American woman. The nation’s highest court must reflect the backgrounds and experiences of all the people whose lives will be affected by its decisions. President Joe Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson corrects a historic injustice and makes a bold statement about the power of inclusion.
Working people have gotten a raw deal from the Supreme Court in recent years. The court has been part of a rigged system that has silenced our voices, rolling back our rights and freedoms while putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the super-wealthy and large corporations. At a moment when we must empower workers, making it easier to organize and stand together in strong unions, it is critical that the next Supreme Court justice interpret the law accordingly.
Judge Jackson has a deep commitment to public service as the daughter of two public school teachers and the niece of two uncles who served in law enforcement. As a public defender and during her time on the federal bench, Judge Jackson has built an extensive record of protecting the rights and freedoms of all people, including working people.
This includes issuing a 2018 ruling blocking an attempt by the Trump administration to decimate the collective bargaining rights of federal employees. As a consensus builder, just a few weeks ago, Judge Jackson authored a unanimous D.C. Circuit opinion overruling a new, heightened standard for federal employees that was improperly adopted and severely limited their collective bargaining rights.
Judge Jackson is a brilliant, fair-minded jurist committed to advancing civil rights and protecting equal justice under the law. Her lived experience and professional background reflect the nation’s diversity and show a deep understanding of the challenges facing everyday working families. She is uniquely qualified to serve on the highest court in the land, and we urge the Senate to move quickly on her nomination.
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten:
The work of the Supreme Court impacts all of our daily lives. In nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the bench, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have chosen an experienced, exceptionally qualified jurist who is devoted to the rule of law, the Constitution, and our country’s rich history of democracy and freedom. Her life story is the story of America.
During her 8 1/2 years as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Jackson presided over civil and criminal trials. She wrote nearly 600 opinions and was rated ‘unanimously qualified’ for the nomination by the American Bar Association (link is external). Judge Jackson has demonstrated an impressive judicial record and a particular understanding of the laws affecting working people. As the daughter of Florida public school teachers, a proud public school graduate and a former law clerk of Justice Stephen Breyer, Judge Jackson is uniquely qualified to serve on the bench and has been confirmed by the Senate several times already. She has deep experience across the judicial system: She comes from a family of police officers, worked as a public defender, and has been called ‘an unwavering voice for justice and fairness.’ We need justices on the Supreme Court who have a demonstrated commitment to equal justice under the law and who will ensure that our rights are protected, and Judge Jackson’s judicial record upholds that ideal.
Our country is eager for a Supreme Court justice who will not pick and choose whose rights they care about—a justice who will put justice first. Progress does not always move quickly, but with this nomination, we take an important step forward in building a court that looks more like America and serves us all.
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) International President Sara Nelson:
In nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, President Biden makes good on two major campaign promises.
As I wrote for the New York Times, 'America needs more judges who understand and support the rights of workers. For too long, the courts have sided with corporations over labor, fundamentally and perniciously reshaping American law, life and liberty.'
AFA first noticed Judge Brown Jackson in AFGE v. Trump when she ruled in favor of federal workers, issuing an injunction to halt three Trump executive orders that gutted collective bargaining rights, due process, and union rights.
Judge Brown Jackson has a long record of protecting the constitutional rights of workers and everyday people. We urge swift confirmation of this eminently qualified jurist.
Electrical Workers (IBEW) International President Lonnie Stephenson:
The IBEW and its 775,000 members congratulate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on her historic nomination to the Supreme Court. As the first African American woman nominated to the highest court in the land, Judge Jackson is breaking barriers and giving a voice to an entire generation of Americans.
Judge Jackson has long stood with working people and is one of our nation’s brightest legal minds. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Judge Jackson clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer before working as a public defender in Washington, D.C., where she won uncommon victories for her clients. She has served as Vice Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, as a judge for the United States district court for the District of Columbia, and as a United States circuit court judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. It was in this role that she invalidated a 2020 rule by the Federal Labor Relations Authority that had restricted the bargaining power of federal-sector labor unions. These exceptional credentials, combined with Judge Jackson’s unimpeachable character and unwavering dedication to the rule of law, will serve her well as she serves the American people on the highest court in the land.
For far too long, the makeup of our nation’s highest court has not accurately represented the vast diversity of America’s working families. America needs a Supreme Court justice that supports workers’ rights and collective bargaining. The IBEW encourages the Senate to quickly confirm Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court.
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) President Matthew Biggs:
IFPTE joins union members and working families in enthusiastically applauding the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Having served for several years as a federal District judge, followed by her current position on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brown Jackson is highly qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court. As evidenced by her 2018 ruling of the Trump union-busting Executive Orders as illegal, she is a reasoned and thoughtful jurist who makes rulings based on the law, not ideologically biases. IFPTE applauds President Biden for this nomination and the thoughtful consideration that he and his administration put into the selection of Judge Brown Jackson. Numerous Senators, including Republican members, have stated their willingness to consider and support a qualified nominee. Judge Brown Jackson clearly exceeds that standard. IFPTE expects those Senators to live up to their word and looks forward to urging all Senators to vote to confirm her.
The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers applauds President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Jackson has distinguished herself as a hard-working and tireless advocate for the American people. From her days working as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, D.C., to today, Judge Jackson has a long history of fighting on behalf of working people. She brings an exceptionally wide breadth of experience at all levels of the judicial system to the Court, as well as the energy and resolve needed to get the job done.
Our nation’s highest court ought to look like the citizens it is bound to protect. A diverse combination of judges, from all walks of life and all areas of the country, is the best way to ensure our Supreme Court unwaveringly protects liberty and justice for all.
We urge the Senate to act swiftly and confirm Judge Jackson without delay.
Machinists (IAM) International President Robert Martinez Jr.:
President Biden promised to nominate an extremely qualified candidate to the U.S. Supreme Court, who will also move the Court toward a more accurate representation of the American people. The President has delivered on that promise.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, one of our nation’s brightest legal minds, is eminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. As a federal judge and in both private and public practice, Judge Jackson has built a lifetime record of fighting for the freedoms of all people. IAM and NFFE-IAM members in the federal sector saw her stand with them to block the Trump administration’s campaign to gut their collective bargaining rights.
As the daughter of public school teachers, Judge Jackson knows what it means to serve and the challenges facing working people. She will help restore balance to the Supreme Court and ensure that working peoples’ voices are heard on the High Court. The IAM urges the Senate to move quickly on Judge Jackson’s nomination.
School Administrators (AFSA) President Ernest Logan:
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court offers our nation a jurist with great experience and extraordinary qualifications. It shows America is moving forward, expanding representation and adding the voices of those who have not had an opportunity to serve on the nation’s highest court. It is inspiring not only for me, but also for the next generation of children, who will understand they can do anything if the playing field is level.
Judge Jackson first shined as a high achiever in Miami-Dade public schools—the same place her parents worked as teachers and administrators offering her great insight on the challenges school leaders face every day in their jobs around fair funding, equity and inclusion. This experience and understanding will help in decision making on issues regarding schools and the children we serve.
Having served nearly nine years as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Jackson has an established record on civil rights, equality, fairness and rule of law, especially around topics tied to people who work every day to move this country forward— but who often are passed over in the judicial system.
International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART):
We commend President Biden’s historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her experience, credentials, dedication to public service and commitment to the rule of law illustrate that she will safeguard the rights and freedoms of working people. While serving as an appeals court judge, Judge Jackson issued a ruling ending a Trump administration policy that restricted collective bargaining rights of public-sector workers. The U.S. Supreme Court should reflect the diversity of the communities that it serves, and this nomination is an important step in helping achieve a fair judicial system. We urge the Senate to swiftly confirm her nomination.
UAW President Ray Curry:
Today’s historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court gives Americans a jurist with broad experience across the legal profession who has a strong understanding of the everyday lives of working families.
Judge Jackson played a key role in the U.S. Sentencing Commission on criminal justice reform and showed a keen understanding of the implications of the law on everyday lives. She has been a private Attorney and a public defender and is recognized as one of the bright legal minds of our generation.
It matters a great deal who serves on the most powerful court in the land. In recent years the Supreme Court allowed employers to terminate retiree health benefits at the expiration of the collective bargaining agreements and prevented public-sector unions from collecting fees from nonunion members they represent.
The United States Senate has confirmed Judge Jackson three previous times and we hope that the Senate will move swiftly on this historic nomination. And working families should sleep well knowing a respected jurist such as Judge Jackson will serve on our Nation’s highest court.
UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor:
The Supreme Court is a crucial institution in the ongoing fight for a country where justice for all may prevail one day. The impact of the Court’s decisions on workers’ lives cannot be overstated, from immigrant justice to LGBTQ+ equality, to rights on the job, and more.
It’s more important than ever that the next appointee to the Highest Court be a person whose influence cannot be bought by corporate interests; someone who shares the vision of the Biden Administration’s pro-worker agency and cabinet appointees.
This is why we are excited by President Biden’s choice in Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. We knew that the President would first and foremost consider the everyday working families most impacted by the Supreme Court’s decisions when making his choice.
We also knew that he would fulfill his promise of nominating a Black woman, as it is past time for us to see a Supreme Court that reflects more of what America looks like—as well as what our own Union’s diverse membership looks like.
We call on the U.S. Senate to confirm Judge Jackson without delay.
United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway:
The USW is proud to support the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Throughout her legal career, as an attorney in private practice, as a federal public defender, and now as a federal jurist, Judge Jackson repeatedly demonstrated her deep commitment to the rule of law and to protecting our citizens’ most sacred Constitutional rights.
As union members, we know all too well the profound impact that Supreme Court decisions can have on the everyday lives of American workers and families. We look forward to having an even-handed justice in Judge Jackson who is committed to upholding the American ideals of democracy, liberty, and equal opportunity for all.
Judge Jackson has proven time and again that she has the credentials and the character to serve on our nation’s highest court. She has, for good reason, received bipartisan support for her two previous nominations. Senate leaders should move forward as soon as possible to make sure that her nomination to the Supreme Court receives the fair hearing and the swift confirmation that it deserves.
Alliance for Retired Americans President Robert Roach Jr.:
Judge Jackson is exceptionally qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. We have every confidence that she will safeguard the civil rights of all Americans, including protecting older workers from discrimination and defending the right of every worker to join a union. We call on the Senate to confirm her quickly.
Jackson’s resume includes an extensive background in criminal defense and public interest law. President Biden elevated her in 2021 from the trial court bench to the appeals court, which is regarded as second in power only to the Supreme Court. The selection is also historic, since no other Black woman has ever been nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court.
A. Philip Randolph Institute Philadelphia Chapter President Thelma Clements (UFCW):
Today President Biden has selected Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court, to replace Justice Breyer. This decision sets in motion a historic confirmation process for the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation. Judge Jackson will bring a voice to the voiceless, protect the rights of all Americans including the vulnerable.
We congratulate Judge Jackson on her nomination. She will bring exceptional credentials and extensive litigation experience at every level of the federal court system. As a District Court judge, she ruled on over 550 cases and is renowned for her careful, methodical approach to ensuring equal justice under law on reproductive rights, disability rights, and workers’ rights. This historic nomination confirms an end to the omission of women, especially black women in our legal institutions.
The A. Philip Randolph Institute Philadelphia Chapter is hopeful this will be a bipartisan effort from the nominating committee to appoint President Biden’s selected nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson and not use any delays or blocking methods to support this selection as they have done with past nominees.
Democracy Initiative Executive Director Charly Carter:
President Biden's nomination of the U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court will bring an eminently qualified jurist to the nation’s highest court.
Judge Jackson will not only be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She will also be the first ever justice with a background as a public defender, bringing a vital perspective on individual rights to our nation’s judicial system. Her recent decision affirming the workplace rights of federal employees shows that Judge Brown Jackson is sensitive to the needs of working people, a welcome addition to a Court that has too often ignored the needs of working families.
Of the 115 people who have served on the Supreme Court in our nation’s history, 108—or 93.9 percent—have been white males. Judge Jackson was confirmed by the Senate to her current post on the U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, less than a year ago. Any senator who attempts to block swift approval of this highly qualified judge will have to explain why a Black woman is being held to a different standard than other nominees.
Michigan State AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber (UAW):
President Joe Biden is a true champion of the labor movement, and his historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court further proves that. The highest court in the land needs Justices that will advocate for our country’s working families. We need Supreme Court Justices who understand the importance of a union contract, who will defend our right to collectively bargain, and protect our right to organize our workplaces.
Judge Jackson has already proven her dedication to working families in the United States during her tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals and as an assistant federal public defender. The Michigan AFL-CIO is confident that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will use her years of legal experience to fight for working people as our country’s next U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) President Sean McGarvey (IUPAT):
North America’s Building Trades Unions applauds President Biden’s historical nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Throughout her career, Judge Jackson has called balls and strikes fairly in our justice system, stood up for democracy and upheld the Constitution for the betterment of the American people. Her record demonstrates a deep understanding and concern for economic justice, workers’ rights, and the right to collectively bargain. Judge Jackson’s remarkable reputation and impeccable experience will serve America well at the highest court, and we look forward to her swift and bipartisan Senate confirmation.