Say Her Name The Power of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s name
Ifeoma Ajunwa is a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, where she is the founding director of the Artificial Intelligence and Decision-Making Research Program.
The current nominee to the Supreme Court has an African first name—and it was with a smile that I read the story of how she got it.
Her parents, presumably wanting to show pride in their ancestry as the thriving American descendants of enslaved Africans, had asked her aunt, a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, to send them a list of suitable names. They chose Ketanji Onyika, meaning “lovely one.”
Soon, she will likely be Justice Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson. In a country where African men and women were once forced to change their names by slave owners, and where having an African-sounding name can still hurt your chances of landing a job, that simple fact is a small but meaningful step forward for Black Americans.
Not too long ago, it was taken for granted that some immigrants to the United States should anglicize their names. Although the myth that most immigrants from Europe had their names changed while passing through Ellis Island has now been debunked, it is true that some migrants, many of them Jews confronted with antisemitism, did change their names after arrival. Similarly, immigrants from Asia have felt the need to adopt English names for the ease of monolingual Americans who could not properly pronounce names from countries such as China, Vietnam, or South Korea.ere wrong.”
Read the story on Slate
More to This Black women have been waiting for this moment
Candace Bond-Theriault is a Black queer feminist lawyer, writer, and social justice advocate working at the intersections of law, policy, reproductive health, rights, and justice, racial justice, economic justice, mental wellness, and LGBTQ+ liberation.
We are witnessing a historic moment. For the first time in our nation’s history, the president has nominated a Black woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court.
As a Black woman attorney, I can confidently say that I have been waiting for this nomination for a very long time. Civil rights attorney Maya Wiley put it perfectly: “It meant that our qualifications had some chance of finally being judged on our success, rather than dismissed because of stereotypes.”
That Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a highly qualified, über-competent, and all-around powerhouse of a judge is no surprise. There have been so many Black woman legal scholars, judges, and advocates who have been wrongly overlooked and who deserved the opportunity to sit on the Supreme Court bench. But I’m still so grateful that this moment is happening. My son, who is 10 months old, will get to grow up in a country with a Supreme Court justice who looks like his mom and who understands that, as SisterSong executive director Monica Simpson said to me this week, “it is beyond necessary to have the intersections of our lives reflected in legal language.”
During her nomination hearings, Judge Jackson taught a master class in diplomatic poise in the face of racist and sexist dog whistles. We witnessed “the strength that Black women have to pass on to our daughters,” the author and UC Irvine law professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin said. “We are taught to walk through fire. This poise is about survival and the attempt to attain a thin slice of thriving, bit by bit.”
Read the Story on The Nation
Less of This Inside the ultra conservative firm run by Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas runs a little-known consulting company that some campaign watchdog groups say could create yet another conflict of interest for her husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Ginni Thomas shot to national notoriety after text messages surfaced last month showing that she prodded former President Donald Trump’sthen chief of staff, Mark Meadows, in late 2020 to try to overturn the presidential election results. The messages prompted calls from top Democrats for Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from cases reviewing the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on Capitol Hill. It’s also led to calls by lawmakers on Capitol hill to create a formal Supreme Court code of ethics. The House select committee investigating what took place on Jan. 6 is reportedly seeking an interview with Ginni Thomas.
A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court did not return requests for comment. Attempts to reach Ginni Thomas through an email listed on her website were not returned. The website appears to have been wiped since the recent reports on her texts with Meadows.
Very little is known about her company, Liberty Consulting, which is listed as an asset on her husband’s Supreme Court disclosures. CNBC was able to find some of her conservative-leaning clients by cross-checking Virginia business records, tax forms, Federal Election Commission filings, personal financial disclosure documents and through interviews with people familiar with her work. Even so, watchdogs say such documents may not entirely reveal who she’s represented and whether those groups have ties to any cases before the court, raising increasing calls for more transparency.
Read the Story on CNBC
Speaking Of… Republican judges are waging a war against the right to protest
Last week, a deeply chilling case concerning Americans’ First Amendment right to organize protests gained new life. A three-year-old, clearly erroneous decision threatens to bankrupt protest organizers across the political spectrum. But multiple courts keep passing the case among themselves like a hot potato, rather than correcting an obvious error.
At the center of this years-long saga is a conservative federal appeals court’s 2019 decision in Doe v. Mckesson. If it is allowed to stand — or worse, if it is embraced by the Supreme Court — it could potentially chill all public protest in the United States by subjecting the organizers of protests to crippling liability.
That 2019 decision, moreover, is merely the most alarming chapter in a case involving a tragically injured police officer, a prominent civil rights activist, a Trump judge who publicly recanted his own effort to restrict First Amendment rights, and at least four different courts — including the Supreme Court of the United States.
The most recent development is a March decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court that effectively breathes life back into the Mckesson litigation after a US Supreme Court decision gave the state supreme court an opportunity to shut it down. The likely result of that Louisiana decision is months or even years more of litigation — all of which could end in a crippling blow to all political protest in the United States.
Read the story on Vox
Transgender Law Center hiring legal fellow
The position is within the Border Butterflies project and will provide direct legal support to LGBTQ asylum seekers living in the United States.
Apply here >
California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice hiring legal fellow
We seek to hire a full time immigration legal fellow to increase representation of detained immigrants before the Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, and before federal district courts.
Apply here >
Critical Race Theory: What It Is, What It Isn’t and What Attorneys Need to Know
Conservative news pundits are lambasting CRT in the media, local school boards have erupted in debates over it, and politicians’ talking points are now focused on CRT. As an attorney, you may find people asking you about CRT or you may have your own questions about it.
Thursday April 7. Register here >
LA Uprising, 1992 Until Now: Each "Other," Together, Forward
Our panelists reflect on the outcry that erupted in response to official violence, the conversations of the past 30 years on race, criminal justice, and community relationships, and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for community partnerships.
Thursday April 28. Register here >