Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Gives History Lesson to Counter Alabama’s Attack on Voting Rights Law | New

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Judge Ketanji Brown JacksonThe first week of at the United States Supreme Court has already made headlines due to her masterful understanding and interpretation of the law.

The court heard arguments from Merrill v. Milligan, an Alabama congressional redistricting map case involving the lumping of black voters into a single congressional district that dilutes their voting power. This is a practice explicitly prohibited by Article 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Judge Jackson used the original argument – ​​usually a conservative talking point – to prove that the Reconstruction Amendments were uniquely and precisely focused on race. This contradicts a widely held conservative argument that the Constitution is racially neutral.

During an exchange with the Solicitor General of Alabama Edmund LaCour, Jackson reminded LaCourt that the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments are explicit in their relationship to race.

“When I delved into that level of analysis, it became clear to me that the drafters themselves had enacted the Equal Protection Clause, the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment, in a race-conscious way.”

She explained that the 14th Amendment was enacted at that time “to ensure that people who had been discriminated against, the freedmen, during the Reconstruction period, were effectively brought to equality with all other members of the society”.

Jackson continued, “I looked at the report that was submitted by the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, which wrote the 14th Amendment, and that report says the purpose of the amendment was to secure the rights of freed former slaves. .”

Judge Jackson cited an 1866 speech by Republican Representative Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, who was a strong supporter of civil rights for black people. “Unless the Constitution restricts them, these states will all, I fear, continue to maintain this discrimination and crush the hated freedmen to death.

Jackson argued, “It is not a neutral or race-blind idea, in terms of a remedy…It was drafted to give…constitutional basis to a bill designed to make people who had less equal opportunities and less rights to white citizens.

The newly appointed judge then told the Alabama Solicitor General, “With that background, I’m trying to understand your position. [on] Section 2, which, by its plain text, does the same thing. He says: You need to identify the people in this community who have fewer opportunities and less capacity to participate and ensure that this is remedied. It’s a racially conscious effort, as you indicated. I’m trying to understand why this violates the 14th Amendment given the history and context of the 14th Amendment.

Listen to Jackson’s clip below:

RELATED: Ketanji Brown Jackson Makes History as First Black Woman Confirmed as U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Ahead of the High Court’s term of office, the judges will also hear two affirmative action cases. They challenge the use of race in admissions to a public university (the University of North Carolina) and a private university (Harvard).

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is the 116th justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

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