Liberal Justice Jackson Joins a Rightward-Moving Supreme Court

Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing on pending US judicial nominations on Capitol Hill in Washington

The most recent Supreme Court appointee Ketanji Brown Jackson is set to hear arguments for the first time on Monday as a justice. 

The liberal judge joins the nation’s top judicial body at a consequential time when its conservative majority has shown an increasing willingness to exert its power on a range of issues.

Jackson was appointed by President Joe Biden and is the first Black woman on the court. Together with her eight new colleagues, Jackson will consider over the next nine months a slate of important cases. 

These involve race-conscious admissions policies used by colleges and universities to foster student diversity, voting rights, environmental regulation, LGBTQ and religious rights, and the power of federal agencies. The court will even weigh in on a dispute over Andy Warhol’s paintings.

The Supreme court is stacked for the right, with a 6-3 conservative majority. 

Jackson is joining a liberal bloc that has been relegated to issuing strongly worded dissents in the most important decisions. 

In the last session, the court’s conservative majority powered rulings on back-to-back days in June overturning its 1973 precedent that had legalized abortion nationwide and expanding gun rights by declaring that the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun in public.

Jackson is joining two fellow liberal justices on the bench, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Kagan and Sotomayor raised concern during public appearances this summer that the Supreme Court is gambling with its hard-earned legitimacy among the public by appearing political. 

When the court begins its new term on Monday, Jackson will take her seat on the bench for the first time since being appointed by Biden, a Democrat, to succeed now-retired liberal Justice Stephen Breyer.  

Jackson was confirmed by the Senate in April. Jackson is set to appear for a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony on Friday with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris due to attend, though the justice was formally sworn in on June 30.

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