U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Letters From Ben

April 9, 2022

Justice Jackson

April 9, 2022

Dear Fellow Marylanders:

This was a good week in the United States Senate.

Thursday, as I voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court – the highest court in our nation – I experienced one of those times when you pinch yourself that you are part of this moment of history.

There was so much energy in the Senate chamber.

The galleries of onlookers were completely full for the first time in more than two years.

After everything we went through with COVID, to be there collectively was powerful and inherently emotional.

I had a tear in my eye.

We know that Justice-designate Jackson is going to have such an impact, not only on the Supreme Court, but also on opportunity here in America.

She is one of the most qualified individuals ever nominated to this lifetime position and, importantly, the first Black woman and first public defender on the Supreme Court. Justice Jackson will be the first justice with any significant criminal defense experience since the retirement of Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1991.

Her confirmation gives hope to people who have been left behind for so long at the highest levels of government.

I believe she will be a powerful, consensus-building jurist, as well as a role model for so many, especially young girls who see someone who looks like them, blazing a trail of achievement through hard work and perseverance, despite obstacles and naysayers.

When I met with Judge Jackson, before her Senate confirmation, she talked about her outreach to students in high school and college, as well as our next generation of lawyers in law school. It reminded me of the words of my dear friend, the late Congressman Elijah Cummings of Baltimore, that our children are the living messages we send to a future we will never see.

Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson already is leaving a positive imprint on our future.

As a senator, one of the most important responsibilities I have under the Constitution is whether to provide my consent to a president’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The high court makes profound decisions every day that affect the lives of people across this country. And, as we know from our history, it has not always protected all Americans, and indeed in the past has treated some Americans as less equal than others, simply due to their race, religion, or gender, among other factors.

It is clear to me that Judge Jackson, based on her sterling legal credentials, depth of knowledge, immense integrity and – as we witnessed over days of marathon hearings – incredible judicial temperament, will work to preserve and protect the Constitution, and to make sure that all Americans are treated equally under the law.

If you would like to learn more about Judge Jackson’s background and broad range of support, please check out this video to see my extended remarks on the floor of the United States Senate this week.

America certainly is not a perfect union, but I do believe in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

This week was a great week for justice and our nation.

Thank you for your time. Remember that COVID-19 is still in our community, so get your vaccine and boosters and take reasonable precautions that keep you and your family safe.


Ben Cardin