Published on: Monday, February 14, 2022

Ketanji Brown Jackson, one of President Biden's top prospects for the U.S. Supreme Court, has led a professional and personal life at once classic and unpredictable. Unlike most judges, her background is not as a prosecutor or major corporate lawyer, and her personal life also defies stereotypes (article available here).

Professionally, she is an experienced judge. For eight years, she served as federal trial court judge, and last June was confirmed for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

While four members of the current court were at one time prosecutors, Jackson, if appointed, would be the first Supreme Court justice since Thurgood Marshall to have represented indigent criminal defendants.

In addition to her work as a public defender, she practiced at law firms large and small and served as vice chairman of the U.S. Sentencing Commission at a time when it sought to reduce the draconian penalties for crack cocaine, penalties that were 100 times more severe than for powder cocaine. At the Sentencing Commission, she earned a reputation for building consensus, and most of the panel's decisions were unanimous.