U.S. Supreme Court

Incoming justice Jackson refuses to say whether SCOTUS leak was good or bad

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Ketanji Brown Jackson

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will join the U.S. Supreme Court as a justice in its next session. Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson sidestepped questions about the U.S. Supreme Court's leak of the draft abortion opinion and picketing of justices’ homes during an interview earlier this week with the Washington Post.

Jackson, who will join the Supreme Court as a justice in its next session, admitted, however, that her guilty pleasure is watching Survivor. The Q&A is here.

Here are the questions and answers regarding the leak and picketing:

“Q: What was your response when you when you saw the draft leak [of a Supreme Court opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade?

A: Everybody who is familiar with the court and the way in which it works was shocked by that. Such a departure from normal order.

Q: Do you think it was a good thing or a bad thing?

A: I can’t answer that.

Q: What do you think about peaceful protests outside of Supreme Court justices’ homes?

A: I don’t have any comment.”

But Jackson said she likes Survivor and explained why.

“It’s like a social experiment,” she said. “It’s human nature, what do people do when they’re starving and how do they react to one another? It’s like this Hobbesian state of nature: How are we going to deal with this situation? I love it.”

She also talked about the justice she is replacing, Justice Stephen Breyer, for whom she once clerked. She described him as “the ultimate consensus builder” and said he was always trying to build bridges with justices who disagreed with him.

Asked about unrealistic expectations and pressure to be the best, Jackson responded this way:

“I don’t see myself as coming with deliverables, like I was appointed to reach a certain outcome or a result or anything like that. That’s not the way law works. But I do feel it’s important for me to continue doing what I do as a judge: Writing opinions that are clear, that people understand, that are consistent with the law and legal principles.”

Jackson spoke with the Washington Post after meeting with 21 high school students participating in a mock court argument.

Original Jurisdiction noted Jackson’s interview with the Washington Post and reported on her clerkship hires. Two of them—Kerrel Murray, a graduate from Stanford Law School, and Natalie Salmanowitz, a graduate from Harvard Law School—were her former clerks. A third, Michael Qian, a graduate from Stanford Law School, clerked for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The fourth is Claire Madill, a graduate from the University of Michigan Law School, an appellate public defender, a former clerk for a federal appeals judge and the co-founder of Clerks for Workplace Accountability, according to Original Jurisdiction and Reuters.

Original Jurisdiction noted that Murray is Black, and Qian is Asian American.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Justice Thomas: Leaked draft opinion on abortion is ‘like kind of an infidelity’”

ABAJournal.com: “Alito sidesteps question about collegiality during remote appearance at law school”

ABAJournal.com: “Could SCOTUS leaker be charged with crime? Espionage Act wouldn’t apply, but other laws might”

ABAJournal.com: “Is Alito right about the ‘unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion’? Scholars disagree on the history”

ABAJournal.com: “Legal experts fear loss of abortion right could usher in end of same-sex marriage, other rights”

ABAJournal.com: “What is the potential impact of the abortion case before the Supreme Court?”

ABAJournal.com: “Rare but not unprecedented Supreme Court leak considered ‘staggering’”

ABAJournal.com: “What does the original Roe v. Wade really say?”

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