🏛️ Ketanji Brown Jackson Faces A Potential Recusal
Ketanji Brown Jackson has yet to be confirmed as the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, yet she's already facing a potential conflict of interest. Brown Jackson currently serves on the Harvard Board of Overseers (though her term ends this year), but it has led some to ask that she recuse herself from Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard — a case that may decide the future of race-based admissions and affirmative action in the college system.
Calls for Judge Brown Jackson to recuse herself from the case are loud from Republican lawmakers, but the legal community is split. "There’s the question of perception — public perception," Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman told the Harvard Crimson. "For that reason, one could imagine her thinking seriously about whether she might want to recuse, so as to avoid any such perception, however mistaken that perception might be."
Yet, even as a member of the Board of Overseers, Brown Jackson was never directly involved in Harvard’s admissions process.
The UNC Case
Even if Brown Jackson is confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice and recuses herself from the Harvard case, it would still leave her to try the University of North Carolina case also challenging affirmative action. Professor Feldman noted to the Harvard Crimson that the UNC case is "more important" because the university is a public school, and thus is a "state actor".
It seems like good news to Brown Jackson that the biggest attack Republican lawmakers and media personalities can level against her is a call for recusal. That being said, it's deeply ironic that the Court's first Black woman to serve will have to sit out a case that helps decide the future of race-based admissions in this country, and then leaves the remaining ratio of the court as 6:2 conservative.