President Joe Biden on Friday nominated federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, which would make her the first Black woman selected to serve on the high court.
The federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Miami — but also has a close connection to Baltimore.
Her brother, Ketajh Brown, served with the Baltimore Police Department from October 2001 through May 2008 and was last assigned to the Eastern District, police spokesman Det. Donny Moses confirmed.
Brown is now a corporate attorney in Chicago, at the K&L Gates law firm. He did not respond to requests for comment.
Jackson spoke of her brother in remarks after her nomination at the White House on Friday.
“I am so proud of all that he’s accomplished,” she said. As a police officer and detective, she said, he worked “on some of the toughest streets in the inner city of Baltimore.”
Jackson previously mentioned her younger brother’s career path, which included working “as an undercover police officer in a drug sting unit in Baltimore,” in responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee questions when she was a nominee for the Court of Appeals seat.
She said her brother also served in the Maryland Army National Guard, where he trained to be an infantry officer, and led two battalions during two tours of duty in Iraq and the Sinai Peninsula.
Jackson has cited her and her brother’s upbringing as a reason they were drawn to public service professions. Both her parents were educators, and her father later went to law school and then served as the chief legal counsel to the Miami-Dade County School Board.
“Given this family background, there was no question that I would gravitate toward public service at some point in my legal career,” she wrote.
Jackson did not respond to a request for comment from The Baltimore Sun.
Richard B. Rosenthal, an appeals attorney in Florida, said he is a close family friend of the Browns, and knew both Jackson and her brother since childhood.
“She has seen the justice system from a lot of different angles that very few judges have had. It has added to her natural ability to hear everyone out,” he said.
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Jackson also has spoken of her uncle, who she has said is serving a life sentence for a cocaine conviction.
“She’s had all of these access points with the criminal justice system,” Rosenthal said.
Jackson would be the current court’s second Black justice — Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative, is the other — and just the third in history.
She also would be only the sixth woman to serve on the court, and her confirmation would mean that for the first time four women would sit together on the nine-member court.
The current court includes three women, one of whom is the court’s first Latina, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Jackson would join the liberal minority of a conservative-dominated court that is weighing cutbacks to abortion rights and will be considering ending affirmative action in college admissions and restricting voting rights efforts to increase minority representation.
Biden is filling the seat that will be vacated by Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, who is retiring at the end of the term this summer.