SWFL minority attorneys react to Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing

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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Credit: WINK News

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on whether to advance Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination, and confirmation could come as early as this week. A pair of attorneys in Southwest Florida spoke to WINK News about what the historic nature of the nomination means to them.

If approved, Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice, a significant mark in history, not only for young minority women who aspire to achieve big things but also for women who have already achieved so much; women like Indera DeMine, an immigration lawyer and founder of DeMine Immigration Law Firm, and Kristie Scott, attorney, founder and managing shareholder with Light Path Law, P.A.

Both women are minority attorneys working in Fort Myers and both had a lot to say about Jackson’s nomination.

“There’s a lot of firsts when you’re a minority or a woman of color,” DeMine said. “The first time you walk into a courtroom, and you know, would be able to say, ‘Hey, are you waiting on your attorney?’ And I said, ‘No, I’m the attorney.’ And then thinking, ‘Right, do I now look like an attorney?’ There are a lot of instances like that, when you might be in a room and feel like you might not necessarily belong, or you need to figure out where you fit in that room.”

“African-American lawyers, there’s only you know… we only make up 5% of the entire bar,” Scott said. “Oftentimes, whenever you’re even at a networking event and things like that, you might be the only lawyer of color, so it’s just a matter of being comfortable in your skin, and then also knowing that your diversity is a benefit.”

Jackson faced intense questioning and comments regarding her handling of child pornography cases and views on the teaching of anti-racism in schools. But one of the only times Jackson showed much emotion was when Senator Cory Booker spoke to her.

“God has got you,” Booker said. “And how do I know that? Because you’re here, and I know what it’s taken for you to sit in that seat.”

Jackson also got choked up when she spoke about walking around Harvard as a Black woman and feeling she didn’t belong. She said she hopes to inspire people to follow her path, and both attorneys WINK spoke to say they were inspired by how composed Jackson remained in the face of tough questions.

“You know, I think that anytime you’re trying to do something great, you’re going to face adversity, and you have to look at that adversity… just knowing that you’re on the right path, you can’t let anything stop you,” Scott said. “It’s something that I’ve experienced… and you just have to keep going. I think that even though the path might be difficult, it doesn’t mean that you give up, and I really love the moment where Cory Booker started speaking life into her… because it’s so true.”

“She remained poised, she remained composed and never lost her composure throughout that hearing,” DeMine said. “So, I think that’s the takeaway that I got. Like Kristie said, anything worth having in life is going to be difficult. The difference is, we’re seeing this play out on national television. But in any career that you choose to have, you’re going to have these moments where you’re going to have to prove yourself in a roomful of people that sometimes may not necessarily see what you’re worth.”

If Jackson’s nomination passes the committee Monday, the nomination will move to a final vote in the full chamber and is expected to happen no later than Friday.

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