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‘This is who we can become’: BIPOC law students take heart in Ketanji Brown Jackson’s hearings

By Reg Chapman

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    MINNEAPOLIS (KCNC) — A history-making nominee could help change the face of the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will start taking questions in her confirmation hearings Tuesday. She is the first Black woman to be nominated to the nation’s highest court.

WCCO spoke with members of our local legal community about what her selection means.

A law school student and law school professor and both see the confirmation hearing for Jackson as a historic and necessary moment in our nation’s history, and a proud moment for Black and Brown women in law.

“It gives young Black girls like myself and others coming up in law an opportunity to look up and say, ‘Look, this is what we can become and this is who we can become,’” said Anisha Murphy.

An attorney and professor of law at Hamline University, Murphy is not surprised by some of the questions presented to Jackson she believes were designed to cast doubt on her nomination.

“I think that the confirmation hearings are doing exactly what they are designed to do. I think she is answering the questions with so much grace,” Murphy said.

“As far as looking at her LSAT scores, I think it’s a bit ridiculous, because I believe for the other justices there has never been such a controversy,” first-year St. Thomas School of Law student Tobi Ladipo said.

Watching the hearings in between classes, Ladipo is encouraged by what she’s seen.

“Seeing someone who is of darker complexion just like, you know, looks like an average Black woman who has dreads, it’s really inspiring to know that you can be yourself to the full extent on how you look physically and still be considered for these positions,” Ladipo said.

Her personal story is one these women say will be hard to demonize. Even though she is a double Harvard graduate, her parents attended segregated schools and became school teachers after graduating from a Historically Black College and University — humble beginnings that help nurture a woman of accomplishment who could serve the rest of her life one the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Continue to keep rooting for her, to keep her in our prayers as she continues to go through this time, and make it through this hurdle and become our next Supreme Court Justice,” Murphy said.

Many believe Jackson’s credentials and dedication to the rule of law proves she is fit to serve as the nation’s 116th Associate Justice. The hope is she inspires more Black and Brown people to work to get on the bench and represented at every level of the law.

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