Our 46th President, Joseph R. Biden, has just passed his first anniversary in office, and with the retirement of Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and the opportunity to appoint his successor, he has a chance to leave his mark on American jurisprudence, well into the present millennium.

Campaign promises can be the bane of the political process (due to the difficulties in bringing all of them to fruition), and part of his rise to the presidency was due to the support of his core constituency, especially Black women. 

Building on his promise to craft a government that will “…look like America,” he pledged early in his campaign to sow the seeds of diversity at the apex of an antiquated legal system.

“It is past time that a Black woman’s voice and perspective are a part of the decisions and opinions that shape the American legal landscape,” civil rights attorney Areva Martin says.

More than 20 individuals have been mentioned as possible nominees.

Martin admits a bias towards Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Harvard Law alumnae like herself. She points to Jackson’s tenure as a Washington, DC public defender from 2005 to 2007, background which will impact the future of badly needed criminal justice reform.

Jackson had already been appointed by Biden to the “second-highest court in the land,” the District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in September 2021, so-named because it presides over many governmental agencies, and especially the U.S. Congress. 

A jurist with connections to Obama (he nominated her to the powerful Sentencing Commission which administers federal court consequences associated with convictions), she has spent her career bouncing between corporate litigation and public service in addition to presiding over the court where she has earned a reputation for impartiality, and integrity.

A key problem among Democrats is their inability to herald their successes, says Martin.

“Though the United States faces serious economic challenges amid the ongoing global pandemic, Joe Biden deserves credit for the extraordinary year of economic growth and creating more jobs in his first year than any president ever,” she notes.

“President Biden has one of the most diverse presidential administrations in history,” Martin continues. “…his commitment to elevating African-Americans is evident from his selection of Kamala Harris as Vice President to Dr. Lisa Cook who was appointed to the Federal Reserve board. Dr. Cook will be the first African-American woman to serve on that board.” 

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