What Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Appointment Means for You

H2rty, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Witnessing the appointment of the only African American female Supreme Court Justice in the history of a nation is a staggering moment. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s appointment brings sobering and hopeful encouragement to us all — across lines of race, class, nationality, and geography.

  1. Everyone doesn’t need to know your name — just the right person. A few months ago, I had never heard the name Ketanji Brown Jackson. But President Biden did and Justice Brown Jackson has been well known and well respected for decades for administering justice with fairness, exactness and a faithfulness to the law while remaining committed to public service. Sometimes we want everyone to know about us, but you only need to be known by the right ones.
  2. Your record will speak for itself — it is amazing to me that many opponents of Justice Brown Jackson’s appointment outrightly said she is undoubtedly qualified for the role as Supreme Court Justice. Yet, they voted against her. Their decision to oppose her nomination was their right independent of the obvious hypocrisy with their choices. In the face of such hypocrisy, Justice Brown Jackson’s untarnished record as a judge committed to due process and excellence speaks for itself — even in the face of her enemies. Here’s the encouragement for us: Keep being excellent even when you are criticized, opposed or overlooked. You will not lose.
  3. Tears are not a sign of weakness, but instead evidence that you are only human. Witnessing then Judge Brown Jackson shed tears in response to US Senator Cory Booker’s affirmation of her undeniable qualifications for the role during the confirmation hearings, reminded us that she too is human. This reminder will be important in the years and generations to come because as much power and authority as she now wields, she is limited by her humanity and will need our compassion. She will also need to extend compassion to herself. Let that be our reminder to extend the same to ourselves.
  4. There are more for you than against you. Judge Brown Jackson was appointed with a vote of 53–47 with three Republican Senators joining all Democratic Senators in confirming the Justice. This vote was not only historic but symbolic of the reality that you will have allies in your work to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God and others. You will even have some unexpected allies. Don’t pay too much attention to those who are unfriendly, there will be more than enough for you than against. Rest assured.

There are so many lessons to learn from this moment in history to help propel us forward in our own personal and professional lives. I pray you are encouraged by words Justice Brown Jackson shared in her acceptance speech “…we’ve made it. We’ve made it. All of us.” You will make it too! God bless you!

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