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Ketanji Brown Jackson: Everybody was ‘shocked’ by abortion ruling leak

Ketanji Brown Jackson says the leak of the draft opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion sent shockwaves throughout the Supreme Court.

“Everybody who is familiar with the court and the way in which it works was shocked by that,” Jackson, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate in April, told The Washington Post in an interview published Monday.

“Such a departure from normal order,” she said.

Jackson said she couldn’t answer a question about whether the draft opinion leak earlier this month was “a good thing or a bad thing” and declined to respond to an inquiry about her opinion on peaceful protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices.

But the 51-year-old former federal public defender, who’s poised to be sworn in this summer following Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement, did open up about the historic nature of her confirmation.

Saying she wants to be a “role model for young people,” Jackson described the pressure as the nation’s first Black female justice on the Supreme Court.

“Well, it’s a work in progress. I’m so honored to have so many people who have encouraged me, who have supported me and who view this as a really important step for our country and for our society,” she said.

“It’s not about me personally, in a sense. I’m embodying this progress that many people feel we’re making by having me appointed to this seat. And so it’s pretty daunting in a lot of ways,” Jackson told the Post’s Roxanne Roberts.

“I feel prepared because I’ve been one of a handful of African Americans doing what I do at this level for a while. It’s not unfamiliar to me to be a ‘first’ or an ‘only’ or whatever small group of people who are performing in legal circles like this — obviously nothing like as momentous as this.”

“I know in the past I’ve felt, ‘Gosh, I’ve really got to do well here so that other people will have this opportunity down the line,’” Jackson said. “That I might be the first, but I don’t want to be the last, and it’s on my shoulders to make sure that I leave a good impression so that others can follow.”

Jackson also revealed that she’s a “Survivor” junkie, dubbing the long-running CBS reality TV competition the “best show ever.”

Asked what she enjoys so much about the series, Jackson replied, “Because it’s like a social experiment. It’s human nature, what do people do when they’re starving and how do they react to one another?”

“It’s like this Hobbesian state of nature: How are we going to deal with this situation?” she said. “I love it.”

Tags Abortion Ketanji Brown Jackson Roe v. Wade Stephen Breyer

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