Supreme Court Nominations

Supreme Court nominee Jackson rarely ruled for plaintiffs in bias cases

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Judge Jackson

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled in favor of plaintiffs in only three of 25 race bias cases reviewed by Reuters.

One of the cases, however, was a constitutional challenge to a law that gives preferences in government contracts to socially disadvantaged individuals, according to the Reuters article. Jackson ruled against the corporate plaintiff and upheld the law. The case is Rothe Development v. U.S. Department of Defense, according to the Heritage Foundation.

In other cases, Jackson ruled against a U.S. Park Police officer, a Bureau of Land Management employee and a pharmacist at a Washington hospital, all of whom claimed discrimination because they are Black.

In another case, Jackson ruled against a group of Black workers suing Lockheed Martin for alleged discrimination. She refused to certify a proposed class of more than 5,500 current and former Black employees at Lockheed because the workers had varying claims of discrimination. She also rejected a proposed $22.8 million settlement as inadequate and unfair. The case is Ross v. Lockheed Martin Corp.

The cases reviewed by Reuters involved substantive rulings she made as a U.S. district judge in the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021.

Kim Forde-Mazrui, director of the University of Virginia School of Law’s Center for the Study of Race and Law, says the rulings don’t strike him as unusual. “Plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases lose a lot, so this strikes me as consistent with the pattern I would expect because they are notoriously hard to win,” Forde-Mazrui told Reuters.

Washington area employment lawyer Aron Zavaro said Jackson followed Supreme Court precedent in her rulings. “If people are afraid she is going to be siding with Black plaintiffs because of her race, there are plenty of cases in her record that show she is not unwilling to side against a Black plaintiff if the facts and the law require it,” Zavaro told Reuters.

Jackson’s nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee begins on March 21.

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