Ruth Marcus has this column within the WaPo (behind a paywall) on the affect of Choose Ketanji Brown Jackson on the Supreme Court docket. Ms. Marcus has lined the excessive courtroom for a few years.
As well as, justices, male or feminine, aren’t fungible. Even when they are often positioned into broad classes of liberal or conservative, they bring about completely different passions and completely different life experiences to the bench. Jackson’s expertise as a prison protection lawyer, member of the U.S. Sentencing Fee and trial courtroom decide provides her a perspective completely different from that of her colleagues. It’s cheap to think about Jackson rising as an ally of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, particularly on prison legislation points, the place Breyer and Justice Elena Kagan have been barely extra average. And, as I wrote the opposite day, she additionally might emerge as one other highly effective voice in dissent, becoming a member of Sotomayor and Kagan in a forcefulness and fervour that Breyer didn’t all the time show.
Whereas Jackson, assuming she is confirmed, shall be within the historical past books as the primary Black feminine justice, the extra fast significance of her arrival on the Supreme Court docket is likely to be as the one serving justice — and the primary in a long time — with important expertise representing prison defendants and grappling with the results of the prison justice system on communities of coloration.
In plainer English, Marcus implies that Justice Jackson is more likely to vote constantly for the defendant on any remotely debatable questions of prison legislation, extra so than Justice Breyer did and extra like Justice Sotomayor does. And whereas “grappling with the results of the prison justice system on communities of coloration,” will she grapple with the results of crime and our failure to manage it on all communities, together with and particularly “communities of coloration”? I’m not optimistic at this level, although I hope to study extra because the nomination course of proceeds.