Read a PDF of our statement here.

Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) released a report evaluating the record of United States Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, in keeping with our longstanding tradition of outlining the background, judicial philosophy, and judicial record of Supreme Court nominees, with a focus on the nominee’s record on civil rights and racial justice issues.

Based on our extensive review of her decades of experience as a respected lawyer and judge with a diverse set of professional experiences, LDF supports the confirmation of Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court. Her work as a public defender and in private practice, service on the United States Sentencing Commission, and tenure as a federal judge, make clear that Judge Jackson has the range of legal experience, demonstrated professional excellence, and commitment to fundamental fairness required of the next Supreme Court justice. If confirmed, Judge Jackson would be the first Black woman to sit on the Court in its over 200-year history.

“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court comes at a crucial period in our nation, when the Court is regularly called on to issue decisions on some of the most critical and consequential civil rights and racial justice issues of our time,” said LDF President and Director-Counsel Janai S. Nelson. “Just last year, the U.S. Senate recognized the immense value Judge Jackson brings to our nation’s courts by confirming her, in a bipartisan vote, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. We call for a similarly fair evaluation of her qualifications and record in the coming hearings, and for the Senate to promptly confirm Judge Jackson.”

“LDF’s meticulous review of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record shows that she is eminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court and impartially decide critical legal issues implicating all aspects of civil rights,” said Sam Spital, LDF’s Director of Litigation. “Importantly, her record illustrates a recognition of the unique barriers to justice still experienced by too many people in this nation. Judge Jackson’s nomination is a step toward a future where our justice system is informed by people from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives — a critical aspect of ensuring the legitimacy of the Court at a time when its role in defending constitutional rights is increasingly consequential.”

“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s legal career and stellar credentials bolster her historic nomination to the Court and merit her prompt confirmation by the U.S. Senate,” said Lisa Cylar Barrett, Director of Policy at LDF. “Her experience as a federal public defender and her service on the U.S. Sentencing Commission in particular, as well as her own lived experiences as a Black woman in the United States of America, present a promising picture of the unique and critical perspective she would bring to a Court charged with safeguarding the constitutional rights of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic nation of people.”

To prepare this report, LDF reviewed Judge Jackson’s judicial record, including her approximately 500 written opinions and orders, as well as her non-judicial writings, speeches, and papers. The report highlights the following themes:

  • Access to Justice: During her tenure as a district court judge, Judge Jackson was measured both in her approach to judicial intervention and her interpretation of the scope of her authority to hear plaintiffs’ claims. She often acknowledged the hardships that drove plaintiffs to seek relief in court even when she thought she was required to dismiss their claims.
  • Administrative Law: Judge Jackson’s administrative law record demonstrates an inclination toward deference to administrative expertise that is tempered by close attention to whether agency decisionmakers have followed proper procedures and adhered to congressional intent.
  • Criminal Justice and Capital Punishment: As demonstrated most clearly by her compassionate release decisions during the pandemic, Judge Jackson recognizes the humanity of incarcerated people. And as a former appellate public defender, Judge Jackson has spoken about the critical need for robust public defense systems to ensure just, fair, and reliable outcomes. Judge Jackson’s service on the United States Sentencing Commission indicates a thorough understanding of what criminal statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines require, and permit, judges to do. On the other hand, in our judgment, some of Judge Jackson’s qualified immunity decisions suggest undue deference to law enforcement officers alleged to have violated individuals’ constitutional rights.
  • Economic Discrimination and Workers’ Rights: On issues related to economic justice, Judge Jackson has demonstrated an appreciation of the powerful role that the judiciary plays in safeguarding workers’ rights. She has repeatedly cautioned against dismissing employment discrimination claims in early stages, stressing the need for discovery and the importance of ensuring that pro se litigants have an opportunity to vindicate their rights. However, in some cases, Judge Jackson has ruled against plaintiffs based on restrictive readings of procedural rules.
  • Race-Conscious Policies and Affirmative Action: Judge Jackson has not ruled on many cases involving race-conscious policies; however, she has recognized that the government has a compelling interest in remedying race-based discrimination in accordance with existing Supreme Court precedent.

In light of these findings, LDF’s view, on balance, is that Judge Jackson has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to fundamental fairness for all. We support her confirmation to the Court without reservation.

Read LDF’s full report on Judge Jackson.


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.