Multicultural News

Hoosier lawyer, professor react to Jackson’s confirmation to high court

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was a historic moment that was a long time coming.

Experts News 8 said going into the process, there was a lot of confidence that she would be confirmed. They also knew it wouldn’t come without a fight.

Supreme Court justice will be her new title going forward.

“Oh gosh, this confirmation will show that it is about your character and your qualifications,” Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow said.

For countless people, it’s a title worth celebrating. Westerhaus-Renfrow is a clinical assistant professor of business and law at IU. Having started on her path in law in the 90s, she’s experienced a few firsts’ of her own.

“Being the first, most Black women can tell you when you’re the first, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure expectations,” Westerhaus-Renfrow said. “But you also have to have a lot of courage.”

Her legal path has taken her down many roads. Early on, she served as law clerk under former Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson. She said he knew the value of diversity on the courts.

“I need diverse perspectives that I have not lived, but I am responsible for shaping law that will affect them,” she said.

Jakobi Williams is a professor of African-American African diaspora studies at Indiana University.

“To have that representation in court now is an understatement very long overdue,” Williams said.

And said with the supreme courts 232 years, it’s time to add a new perspective. Pointing specifically to the idea of social location.

“Social location, how one identifies themselves, how one is raised, the environment provides vantage points of how they view the world, and those vantage points matter.”

And Black women’s vantage points matter.

“Black women have been the backbone of every movement, almost every movement we’ve had in society. Equality, equity, inclusion, diversity, and justice belonging,” Williams said. “But always relegated to the margins.”

Williams said if we’re to get closer to reaching an actual representative democracy he hopes this isn’t the end. Maybe we’ll soon see even more diversity on the court.