Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court confirmation highlights the importance of diversity among judges
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first Black woman to ever serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. In a historic day for the U.S. justice system, the Senate voted to confirm Judge Jackson as the 116th Supreme Court Justice.
"Frankly something I never thought that I would see in my lifetime," said Judge Valarie Hill, Milwaukee Municipal Court Branch 1 judge.
Judge Hill has been on the bench since 2004. She's the third Black woman to become a judge in Wisconsin and part of a list of trailblazers like Judge Vel Phillips and Judge Maxine White.
"It's important to have diversity on every court because the things that effect our day to day lives happen in court rooms," she said.
Judge Hill says seeing Judge Jackson break such a historic barrier is a reminder of why diversity in justice is so important. "There are so many things that happen that are driven by decisions in the court that the value of having diversity in opinion cannot be overstated. It is something that is a must. It's a way for everyone who lives in this country to have someone consider who they are," she said.
Judge Brown's confirmation came down to a 53 to 47 vote. All Senate Democrats including Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin voted in favor of Jackson's confirmation. They were joined by three Republicans.
Wisconsin's Democratic Party says the historic confirmation means positive change for the country. "It means that the U.S. Supreme Court is less likely to make some of the historic errors like it made in times previous when the court was entirely composed of white men. This is critical for the pursuit of justice," said Ben Wikler, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair.
Wisconsin's Republican Senator Ron Johnson voted "no" on confirming Judge Jackson, citing his thoughts from confirmation hearings. " Judge Jackson is constrained in answering questions regarding issues that might come before the court," said Sen. Johnson in a statement. Senator Johnson went on to say he sincerely hopes she proves him wrong.
Regardless of the politics involved, Judge Hill says the confirmation means so much for the next generation of little girls who want careers in law and justice. She says this piece of history shines a light on why representation matters.
"You can never be what you don't see. You can't imagine that so the ability to dream about it is what is important," said Judge Hill.
Judge Jackson graduated from Harvard Law School in 1996 and has served eight years as a federal trial judge. Prior to that she was a public defender. She'll be officially sworn in this summer