Welcome to NLJ’s May/June edition! With the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first African American female justice in the 233-year history of the U.S. Supreme Court, the third pillar of U.S. democracy has reached a milestone of looking more diverse, more like the face of the nation. And diversity here does not only relate to skin color but—what’s more—to enhancing diversity of thought and perspective on the bench. During her confirmation hearing—while not specifically endorsing any one particular judicial theory—she appeared to be leaning toward originalism, stare decisis and methodological application of the law. Yet, she did not allow the committee to pin her down on a specific judicial philosophy. This month’s cover story is taking a closer look on how Jackson might shape the court given her background as a judge as well as federal public defender.
In our one-on-one interview, we sat down with retired D.C. federal appellate judge, now Hunton Andrews Kurth special counsel Thomas Griffith, who introduced Jackson to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He analyzes how Jackson handled the, at times, tough line of questioning during the confirmation hearing and discusses her extensive background not only as a judge, but also as a public defender and member of the Sentencing Commission.