Commentary: Ketanji Brown Jackson is now a Supreme Court Justice. Thank You, America.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

Commentary: Ketanji Brown Jackson is now a Supreme Court Justice. Thank You, America.
April 20
13:31 2022

By James B. Ewers Jr.

Sometimes in life, the unexpected becomes real and in living color, too. The beauty of the unexpected is the unexplainable joy that it brings.

You and I have heard the expression, “Wait for it.” It’s a kind of delayed reaction that will eventually hit you and you will get it. When it does hit you, you can honestly and truthfully say it was a defining moment.

If you are a card-carrying member of the 4th quarter, you know that firsts really do happen. If you are like me, you are just thankful to see them.

I am an African American male and I have seen my share of firsts, both good and not so good. The song sang by Bruce Hornsby and the Range, “The Way It Is,” fits that above-mentioned statement quite well.

I want to have some thought and reflection on the good firsts.

Politically, more of us are involved in the voting process. People of color are showing up more at the polls. We are casting our ballots for competent and qualified candidates, many of whom look like us.

Barack Obama was the first African American to become president of the United States of America. I can remember that memorable night in November 2008 when CNN called the election for him. Was your phone ringing and your text messages moving? Of course, the answer is yes. We will never forget how we felt on that life-changing night.

Did I think I’d live to see a Black person become president of these United States of America? If truth be told, the answer would have to be no. As the younger generation would say, I’m just keeping it real.

As I have more life behind me than in front of me, another jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring event happened just a few weeks ago.

An African American woman was nominated and confirmed to become a Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a part of the highest court in the land. Writing this statement gives me pride and unspeakable joy. She will become the court’s 116th member. This is a special beyond words and imagination.

President Joe Biden promised he would nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, and he was true to his word. The vote was 53 senators said yes and 47 senators said no. Breaking from the Republican ranks were Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Those three senators showed resolve and character. Judge Brown Jackson had the credentials and the experience. The senators saw it and America saw it, too.

Prior to the final vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the moment a “joyous, momentous, groundbreaking day.” He added, “In the 233-year history of the Supreme Court, never has a Black woman held the title of Justice. Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first of more to come.”

I, along with many others, agree with Senator Schumer. Reflect on Dr. King’s eloquence when he spoke about the content of our character and not the color of our skin. While he was referencing his four children, this time-honored expression applies to all of us.

So, as we push America toward equity and opportunity, hearing loved ones say you can be anything you want to be becomes more than just a set of words.

To those senators who decided to stay stuck in their ways and voted against her, just know that right, while sometimes delayed, will always win.

The Bruce Hornsby song is a testament to not giving up. The lyrics are, “That’s just the way it is. Some things will never change. That’s just the way it is. Ah, but don’t you believe them.”

Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson didn’t believe them.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator. He can be reached at

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