When Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson made her opening statement at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, she introduced the public to members of her “large extended family” as she thanked many of them for their support.
Americans learned about Jackson’s qualifications and experiences while Senators took turns questioning her during four days of hearings on Capitol Hill. But throughout the week, viewers also witnessed the judge’s family sitting behind her each day, and saw the tremendous impact they’ve had on Jackson’s life.
Jackson could be the Supreme Court’s first Black woman. Jackson credits her father with inspiring her to study law. He was a law student full time when Jackson was four years old. “My very earliest memories are of watching my father study—he had his stack of law books on the kitchen table while I sat across from him with my stack of coloring books.” During that time, Jackson said her mother “pulled double duty” as both a parent and the family’s sole earner.
Jackson’s husband, Patrick Jackson, and their two children, Leila and Talia, sat behind her throughout the week. Jackson spoke of the “unconditional love” she shares with her husband, and said to her daughters: “I am so looking forward to seeing what each of you chooses to do with your amazing lives in this incredible country.”
Here’s a look at some of Jackson’s family members as they gave their support to her during the hearings.
Leila Jackson is proud to be seen looking at her mother on Mar. Since it became viral on the internet, 21 has become a symbol of many things. This photo shows Leila Jackson looking proudly at her mother Mar. Leila wrote an 11-year-old letter asking President Barack Obama to nominate her mother for the Supreme Court.
Sarahbeth Maney—The New York Times/Redux
Patrick Jackson reaches over to take his wife’s hand during her confirmation hearing on March 21. Ketanji Jackson said she and her husband have an “unconditional love”—the couple met in college and have been married for 25 years. “I have no doubt that, without him by my side from the very beginning of this incredible professional journey, none of this would have been possible,” Jackson said in her opening statement. “Patrick, I love you.” As she spoke to him, Patrick wiped away a tear.
Ketajh, Ketanji’s younger brother, sits alongside their parents Johnny (and Ellery) Brown in a brief moment on Tuesday. “My parents also instilled in me—and in my younger brother Ketajh—the importance of public service,” Jackson said in her opening statement. Jackson said that Ketajh, who graduated from Howard University in 2005, became a policeman and joined the Army following the attacks of September 11. Two tours as an infantryman in the Middle East were his experience.
Julia Nikhinson—Bloomberg/Getty Images
As the week went on, Patrick Jackson’s style choices became more prominent. His multicolored socks, which featured Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John F. Kennedy, were the highlight of his first three days.
Win McNamee—Getty Images; Andrew Harnik—AP; Bill Clark—CQ Roll Call/AP
Talia Jackson and Leila Jackson look towards their father Patrick Jackson at the hearing held on March 21. Jackson shared a message with her daughters in her opening speech that day. “Girls,” she said to them: “Girls. It has been difficult as I tried to manage the challenges of motherhood and my career.” “I have to admit, I didn’t always achieve that balance,” Jackson said. It is possible with determination and hard work. I am glad that you’ve seen it.
Sarahbeth Maney—The New York Times/Redux
Jackson was given a kiss by her husband at the end of March 23rd. Jackson was supported in person by a large portion of Patrick’s extended family. This included his brothers and their spouses as well as his parents. Jackson expressed her gratitude to all of the family who could not attend: “There are many other people who aren’t here today but whom I must acknowledge.” I have an extended family that watches me from both Florida and North Carolina.
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