Mar 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

The Latino groups backing Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court

U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) sits with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden's nominee for Associate Justice to the Supreme Court in the Hart Senate Office Building.
U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) sits with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Many Latino advocacy groups are rallying behind Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson despite past criticism that President Biden hasn't nominated enough Latino judges.

Why it matters: Advocates see Jackson, who would be the first Black woman to serve on the high court, as an ally on critical civil rights issues.

Driving the news: Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA), a member of the Judiciary committee, praised Jackson in Spanish on Monday during the opening of her confirmation hearings. He also compared his own family history of migrants from Mexico to those of Jackson's family in Miami.

  • The nation is about to "see how qualified Justice Jackson is for the Supreme Court," he said. "You bring a wealth of other important experiences and perspectives to the Court — including as a working mother, and as a Black woman."

Between the lines: Support for Brown Jackson among the nation's six Latino or Hispanic senators is expected to break along partisan lines.

  • Padilla is one of four Democrats, all of whom supported Brown Jackson's nomination last year to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the D.C. Circuit. Of the two Republicans, Ted Cruz of Texas opposed that nomination and Marco Rubio of Florida did not cast a vote. Rubio signaled last week he's not poised to support her now.

The intrigue: In December, the group Latinos for a Fair Judiciary said it was alarmed that not enough progress was made in appointing more Latinos to the federal bench in Biden's first year.

  • "We end 2021 still with a gaping lack of Latino judicial representation in key states where the Latino population grew significantly over the last decade," the group said.
  • "2022 must be the year that the White House and Senate act with urgency and prioritize identifying, nominating, and confirming more Latinos to key courts."

Yes, but: Following Biden's nomination of Jackson, Latinos for a Fair Judiciary led a coalition of Latino civil rights groups in celebrating the pick.

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