Ketanji Brown Jackson, the nominee for the Supreme Court, will have to face some harsh questions during her Senate confirmation hearings in order to be confirmed as the next Justice, with some of them focusing on affirmative action on college campuses due to her links to Harvard University.
Some Republican senators have been looking into her background, and they want to know about her position on the governing board of her old alma institution, according to The Washington Post.
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Jackson, whose tenure on Harvard’s Board of Overseers expires soon, has not stated her intentions. Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, stated that she “would follow the highest ethical standards when it comes to recusals.” Whether Jackson should step away is debatable.
According to ethics experts, an examination of the cases in which she opted to recuse herself during her eight years as a District Court judge reveals that she was sensitive to concerns that she was being more careful than the rules allowed.
Jackson’s confirmation hearings, which are set to begin on March 21, present a chance for the judge to “signal the sort of justice she will be,” especially on the topic of judicial ethics, according to law professor Susan Fortney.
If she does recuse herself, she says it demonstrates that she “intends to hold herself to high ethical standards and encourage trust in the administration of justice.”
According to Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, she may be compelled to be excluded from the case. “Six years on the Board is a lengthy time, thus, to paraphrase federal recusal statute, her ‘impartiality’ in the case that is, in favor of Harvard, given her links to the Board’might properly be questioned’ here,” he stated.
According to Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University, she should disqualify herself if she played a part in developing the university’s admissions policy.
“In principle,” he continued, “she may be so affiliated with the school’s well-being via her various activities for the school and her relationships with the school’s governance that we would argue her impartiality may legitimately be questioned.”
“There must be such identification with the institution’s well-being that a reasonable person would question the judge’s impartiality in a case in which the university is a party,” he added.