Biden Nominates a Former Public Defender to the U.S. Supreme Court

On Friday, President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. If approved, she would replace outgoing justice Stephen Breyer, becoming the first African American to ever serve on the high court.

CalMarijuanaPolicy always likes to take a look at where potential new Supreme Court justices stand on cannabis and drug policy. While we don’t have any concrete indications about Jackson’s views on marijuana legalization, here are some things we do know:

-From 2005 to 2007, Jackson served as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, D.C., which meant she represented a number of clients accused of drug crimes. She would be the first SCOTUS justice with a background as a federal public defender.

-In 2010, Jackson became a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. During her tenure, the Commission shortened prison terms for many drug offenders, including those serving prison sentences for crimes involving crack cocaine.

-Jackson's uncle received a life sentence for multiple drug offenses. One of the state convictions that contributed to the sentence was possession of cannabis.

-No, we haven’t read it. But her senior thesis in college was titled, “The Hand of Oppression: Plea Bargaining Processes and the Coercion of Criminal Defendants.”

Read more about Brown’s career as a jurist at Leafly, Politico, and Slate.

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