Politico Trolled for Saying Ketanji Brown Jackson Will be ‘First Black Supreme Court Justice’

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committe
Andrew Harnik / AP

Politico has been taking a beating on social media for falsely claiming Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee “will be the first” black justice, overlooking Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas.

In a now-deleted tweet, Politico said “Ketanji Brown Jackson will likely be confirmed as the first Black Supreme Court justice by the end of this week.”

While Jackson will certainly make history as the first black woman to be on the Supreme Court, she will in fact be the third black justice behind Thurgood Marshall (nominated 1967) and Clarence Thomas (nominated 1991), respectively.


The outlet later issued a correction outlining the tweet meant to say “woman,” even though Ketanji Brown Jackson refused to define the word “woman” during her confirmation hearings.

“For the record: This replaces an earlier tweet that stated Ketanji Brown Jackson could be the first Black Supreme Court justice, it should have said the first Black female Supreme Court justice. We apologize for the error,” it said.

Politico’s mea culpa even received a mention during the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday prior to the deadlock vote for Jackson’s nomination to move to the U.S. Senate.

“This can’t be something that simply focuses on the historic nature of the nomination,” said Lee. “Earlier today, there was a Politico tweet—Politico sent out a tweet reading as follows: ‘Ketanji Brown Jackson will likely be confirmed as the first Black supreme court justice by the end of this week.’ … If that were true, that would come as news the family of Thurgood Marshall… to Justice Clarence Thomas, and his family.”

“When we hear, what we’ve heard today, calls for making sure that we respect the need to show inclusiveness, let’s remember how members of this committee have treated others. Remember how they treated Justice Clarence Thomas, remember how they’re still treating Clarence Thomas. People on the left are savagely attacking him, one of the most decent human beings that I’ve ever known,” he added.

Throughout Jackson’s confirmation hearings, Republicans have made sure to remind the public about how the Democrats treated Judge Janice Rogers Brown, whom Joe Biden filibustered for two whole years.

File/Judicial nominee Janice Rogers Brown meets with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) in Frist’s office at the U.S. Capitol May 17, 2005 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Way back in 2003 through 2005, when Joe Biden was still a Democrat senator from Delaware, President George W. Bush nominated Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, but due to her conservative views, Joe Biden and the Democrats filibustered her nomination, blocking a final vote on her confirmation.

Bush nominated Brown for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2003 after she served as a justice on the California Supreme Court since 1996; she did not get confirmed until June 8, 2005.

Janice Rogers Brown was reportedly considered as the possible replacement for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, but that ultimately went to Samuel Alito. Beyond Joe Biden, her nomination to the circuit court was also opposed by then-Sen. Barack Obama, who said her political views bar her from being an independent jurist.

“Unfortunately, as has been stated repeatedly on this floor, in almost every legal decision that she has made and every political speech that she has given, Justice Brown has shown she is not simply a judge with very strong political views, she is a political activist who happens to be a judge,” Obama said in 2005.

Brown retired from her position on the circuit court in 2017.



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