Notable Views of High Court Candidate Ketanji Brown Jackson

WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will be nominated to the Supreme Court by President Joe Biden on Friday, worked for seven years as a judge at the federal trial court in Washington, DC, before Biden took her appoints to the Court of Appeal. which meets in the same courthouse.

Here are excerpts from some notable opinions:


In 2019, Jackson ruled on a dispute between Democrats who control the House of Representatives and the Trump administration over lawmakers’ efforts to subpoena former White House attorney Don McGahn to testify before Congress. Democrats wanted to ask McGahn about former President Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to obstruct Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump claimed that his close advisers, including McGahn, were completely immune from having to appear before Congress. The argument was based on the disputed notion that a president should be able to get candid advice from trusted advisers without fear that what was said would become public.

Jackson dismissed the argument in a 120-page opinion in November 2019 in which she said “presidents are not kings” and that for a president’s top aides “absolute immunity from forced congressional process simply does not exist”.

Siding with the House Democrats, Jackson wrote, “It means they have no subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose fate they are entitled to control. On the contrary, in this land of the free, it is indisputable that current and former employees of the White House work for the people of the United States and are sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The claim that Trump could completely bar his senior advisers from testifying “is a proposition that cannot be reconciled with core constitutional values, and for that reason alone cannot be supported.”

The administration appealed, and the case bounced around the DC Circuit until the end of Trump’s presidency. Since then, the House and McGahn’s attorneys have reached an agreement under which McGahn answered questions in a closed session.



In 2019, Jackson temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s plan to illegally expand expedited deportations of people across the country, regardless of where they are arrested. Expedited deportations were previously largely limited to people arrested almost immediately after crossing the Mexican border.

Jackson’s ruling focused on whether the administration had complied with the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law designed to require the executive branch to make reasoned and well-explained decisions when enacting new policies. .

Jackson wrote that she was embarrassed by the Department of Homeland Security’s apparent failure to consider how the lives of people who have lived in the United States for up to two years and their families would be affected by the expanded eviction policy.

“There is no doubt in the mind of this Court that an agency cannot make reasoned, non-arbitrary decisions about policies that might impact real people and disregard those real circumstances,” she wrote.

But the DC Circuit overruled Jackson, finding that Congress had given the Secretary of Homeland Security broad discretion to extend expedited deportations without having to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act.

In a 2019 opinion in a case about Trump’s sweeping efforts to extend the wall to the country’s border with Mexico, Jackson dismissed arguments from environmental groups that the administration improperly ignored environmental and other laws before proceeding. authorize the construction of new barriers.

“This Court finds that Congress has spoken unequivocally on the limits of judicial review with respect to statutory claims that challenge on unconstitutional grounds the power of the Secretary of DHS to waive otherwise applicable statutory requirements with respect to construction of border barriers,” she wrote, citing a major immigration overhaul in 1996. Jackson wrote that she was also required to dismiss constitutional challenges to the waiver due to an earlier notice of the district court on the same provision of the immigration law.



In her first notice to the appeals court, Jackson sided with public sector unions who challenged a Trump-era rule that made it easier for government agencies to impose workplace changes. .

In 2020, the Federal Labor Relations Authority changed a rule that had been in place since the 1980s that required collective bargaining over changes to working conditions that had more than a minimal effect on employees. The FLRA voted to require negotiations with unions only for changes that had a “substantial impact.”

Siding with the unions, Jackson wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel. “The superficial policy statement that the FLRA has issued to justify its choice to abandon thirty-five years of precedent promoting and applying the de minimis standard and adopt the previously rejected substantial impact test is arbitrary and capricious,” said she wrote at the end of an 18-page review.

The appeals court that Jackson joined last year often deals with lawsuits like the one filed by the unions in this case.

In a 2018 case also involving unions representing government employees, Jackson spoke out against Trump-issued executive orders that unions complained of weakening their bargaining position in violation of federal law.

Jackson wrote that “it is undisputed that none of these orders can have the effect of eviscerating the right to collective bargaining as contemplated in” federal labor law.

“Taken collectively,” she wrote, “the contested executive orders reflect a decidedly different political choice; namely, the President’s stated view that the right of federal employees to engage in collective bargaining over the terms of their employment “makes government less effective and “should be subordinated to the agencies’ interest” in developing efficient, effective and cost-reducing collective bargaining agreements.

The DC Circuit overruled Jackson, writing that she had no jurisdiction over the unions’ claims. The appeals court ruled that the unions should have pursued their claims in an administrative proceeding, not a federal lawsuit.

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