Ketanji Brown Jackson tells daughters she ‘did not always get balance right’ between ‘career and motherhood’

President Biden’s latest Supreme Court nominee took a moment during her confirmation hearing in the US Senate to address her two daughters directly

Io Dodds
San Francisco
Tuesday 22 March 2022 06:50 EDT
Ketanji Brown Jackson addresses daughters during supreme court confirmation

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson has used her confirmation hearing in the US Senate to give an emotional address to her two daughters about the struggles of working motherhood.

Judge Jackson, who is being questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week after President Joe Biden put her forward for the Supreme Court, admitted in Monday's hearing that she "did not always get the balance right" between her career and her role as a parent.

Judge Jackson said: "I'm saving a special moment in this introduction for my daughters, Talia and Leila. Girls, I know it has not been easy as I've tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I did not always get the balance right.

"But I hope that you've seen that with hard work, determination, and love, it can be done. I am so looking forward to seeing what each of you chooses to do with your amazing lives in this incredible country. I love you so much."

Moments earlier, her husband, Dr Patrick Jackson, had been rendered visibly tearful when she thanked him for being “the best husband, father, and friend I could ever imagine”.

If confirmed, Judge Jackson, 51, would be the first Black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court, more than a century since abolitionist leader and Civil War hero Harriet Tubman died without ever having been allowed to vote.

The judge's opening remarks came at the end of a long day of statements from every member of the Judiciary Committee, with Democrats celebrating her historic nomination and Republicans promising to ask tough questions.

Some GOP senators expressed scepticism about Judge Jackson's refusal to tie herself to a specific judicial philosophy, such as originalism or the "living constitutional" approach, with one suggesting she had a "hidden agenda" and even referencing critical race theory.

However, Democrats' controlling share of the committee means no Republican votes will be needed to approve Judge Jackson's nomination if all Democrats vote in her favour. Vice President Kamala Harris could cast the decisive vote to confirm Judge Jackson if every Democratic senator votes in favour. It remains to be seen whether any Republicans will vote for her confirmation.

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