On the morning of March 24, 2022, members of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding their evaluation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and her qualifications to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
At the request of the ABA Committee, a group of faculty at the College of Law reviewed and assessed Judge Jackson’s opinions and other writings in order to help inform the Committee's evaluation and subsequent rating. The invitation to participate in the ABA evaluation process is significant, given that Illinois was one of only two law schools (along with Stanford Law) to contribute in this manner. Dean Vikram Amar and Professor Jason Mazzone co-chaired the faculty reading group at Illinois, which included the following faculty members, each experts in their fields:
College of Law library faculty, led by Pia Hunter, also assisted on the project by gathering the nominee's publicly available writings. The collective work of the faculty involved hundreds of hours in the relatively short period after President Biden nominated Judge Jackson on February 25, 2022. The review of the reading group culminated in a written report that was sent to the ABA Committee. A summary of the Illinois reading group's conclusions regarding Judge Jackson's candidacy is excerpted from the report below:
“The overall and overwhelming assessment of the members of the Illinois reading group is that Judge Jackson is an extremely competent jurist whose work demonstrates a high degree of integrity and an admirable judicial temperament. . . .
Our faculty readers praised as well Judge Jackson’s legal knowledge and analytical skills. Her writings demonstrate her tremendous subject-matter breadth as a district court judge and, at the same time, showed her deep and sophisticated knowledge in specific areas of the law. . . . She is adept at understanding the full scope of arguments the parties have made and at distilling the core issues to be resolved. She is a skilled interpreter of statutes and she applies doctrine faithfully and fairly. . . .
[T]he clear consensus . . .—and, again, the reading group was quite diverse among demographic, ideological, and subject-matter lines—was that Judge Jackson’s body of work demonstrated impressive competence and admirable temperament and integrity.”
Professor Mazzone noted that the opportunity to participate in the process was "a tremendous honor for the College of Law and an extraordinary form of public service."
Senator Dick Durbin (Judiciary Committee chair) specifically thanked both the University of Illinois College of Law and Stanford Law during the ABA testimony, which may be viewed in the clip below.
Read the full written statement from the ABA Standing Committee regarding Judge Jackson's nomination.