Denver Locals Comment on Chief Justice Nomination

Denver Locals Comment on Chief Justice Nomination

John Bailey with the Colorado Black Round Table hosted a Zoom meeting after the nomination and confirmation of Chief Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. He asked the following for their comments on what it meant to them. Following are excerpts of their comments. To view the complete meeting, email John Bailey at

“Looking through the lens of a lawyer and judge for 52 years…in 1967 when I was entering law school at CU, the honorable Thurgood Marshall was being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was an inspiration to me because at that time, there were 4 Black law students, no Black law professors, no Black staff people, not even a Black maintenance person at CU Law School. So for Justice Marshall to be an inspiration to me in 1967, this is the same inspiration that Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson will have for students of color, especially Black women, letting them know being a Black woman justice, is no longer a dream but a reality.” - The Honorable Gary Jackson


“I was thrilled about the fact that we finally, finally we had a Black women nominated to the Supreme Court…(but) emotions such as anger, frustration, sadness arose as I watched the nomination and confirmation process play out because for so long we couldn’t be in that situation and then we had some people saying she should not be in that role…When we talk about the glass house, had she responded in any way to those questions the way some prior nominees had responded to being asked irrelevant questions, I’m not sure she would have been confirmed. People would have looked at that confirming their own preconceived notions of how a Black woman might act if given a role of authority …This is a very emotional time for me and I’m happy that we have gotten to this point but I recognize we have a long way still to go.” - Karen Ashby


“How can you describe for young black girls in this country to look at the highest court in this land and see themselves for the first time ever?  There aren’t any words to describe that. The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. This is one of those moments where we see it. We see it bend toward justice. How can you find the words to describe how important that is?  And what a person to embody what we are talking about today in Justice Jackson…Her credentials are double gold-plated…unimpeachable professionalism, unimpeachable personal integrity, the perfect judicial temperament, you can’t find somebody more qualified than that.”- Justice Rich Gabriel, Colorado Supreme Court



“I hope you saw the extraordinary picture of her daughter looking on during the confirmation hearings and that sense of joy and love in her daughter’s face That captures in many ways the inspiration you will get from Justice Jackson.”- Judge Lino Lipinsky






The thing that was most moving to me about her was her story about an anonymous student at Harvard when she was feeling very lonely and isolated…comes up to her and says persevere.  And it is those moments and that emotion I felt from where she was having to actually do that in the U.S. Senate to preserve. I applaud her appointment.”Sueanna Johnson




“You have to recognize how important this is particularly for little girls…to be able to open up our imagination, to be limitless… and for Black women… Black women live in the space where we have to be stronger than anyone else because we’re not sure if people will support us. And to know that the person who has the highest office in the land could make a promise and fulfill it does so much for how we think about where we stand in the world… So I say this again, the importance of knowing that there is certainly limitless imagination, that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we have a lot of hope for her… And I cannot wait to read an opinion that she authored.” -Rep. Jennifer Bacon

“I was filled with more anger and outrage during these confirmation hearings than anything else. Individuals who couldn’t carry her briefcase acting like they had so more authority and information. They were like little pit bulls that couldn’t let go of stupidity. It spoke more to their character and didn’t have any impact on her. Symbolism is important as she sat there as a Black woman – a dark woman of color – and to be able to sit through…a persecution. That’s all it was, a persecution of her status…She stood high and tall, not just for Black girls but for Black boys too, to see the strength in our women. And hopefully to appreciate our women as we move forward during these times.” - Bennie Milliner, Former DPS Board Member


“I was so proud that this process was taking place because let’s remember just a few months ago we were having conversations about Black Lives Matter and they were hard conversations to hold and questions that we needed to answer but our work is not done. I thought Judge Jackson was an extremely awesome role model and I can tell my granddaughter that you can be anything you want to be – she is an example of that.” - Selena Dunham



“We are just tired of the kinds of things that we see happening around us; the things we saw the honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson endure with dignity and strength and power and intelligence at that hearing, at that confirmation. And we know we have to carry on… We’ve made great progress…And we can’t give up even though we are tired…When I think about how Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson sat at that table…with grace, dignity and intelligence and love. Senator Cory Booker talked about how love bringing her there.  And we have love for her and she has love for this nation and she knows that her destiny was greater than the indignities that were thrown and hurled her way. She shouldn’t have had to deal with that…but she has a destiny and she is going to fulfill it. - Dorothy Hayden Watkins