EUGENE, Ore. — On Tuesday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson staunchly defended her record on day two of her confirmation hearing as a Supreme Court nominee. Senators questioned her on everything from abortion, to her background as a federal public defender.
If she is confirmed, and Democrats likely have the votes without GOP support, Jackson would become the first Black woman on the nation's highest court.
The dean of the University of Oregon School of Law, Marcilynn Burke, spoke with KGW about what this historic moment means to her. Burke is the first Black woman to be the dean, and said there's many firsts still occurring in our country.
"This moment for us is inspirational for so many. It's for all of us. For the people that may not have tried to even venture into a career in law," Burke said.
She watched closely as Judge Jackson faced hours of questioning, calling her resume and decade of experience on the bench unimpeachable.
"She has certainly displayed what we call the judicial temperament. There's really no room for challenging her: her experience, her knowledge of the law, her expertise," Burke said. As a lawyer, as a Black woman, as a woman from the South with similar backgrounds, it means something to me on so many different levels."
Burke, alongside hundreds of other law professors across the country, expressed their support of Jackson and her qualifications in a letter, encouraging the U.S. Senate to move swiftly with the confirmation process.
"I went through a confirmation hearing, a process, when I was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the Assistant Secretary to Land Minerals in the Department of the Interior," she said. "Mind you, much lower stakes process, but important similarities."
Burke explained the level of preparation was unparalleled, with lawmakers combing through and question everything you've written and said.
"What they do have is more than a decade of being a judge. They have an actual record so they can look back at her over 570 opinions so they don’t have to guess about how would she approach a certain issue," she said about Jackson.
Burke said the road to Jackson's confirmation should be celebrated by many, as the Supreme Court becomes more representative of the citizens of the United States.