Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson – set to become the first Black woman to sit on the bench – will wrap up her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing today. It follows three long days of intensive questioning, mostly by Republican senators.

Some 55 years earlier, Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court Justice, had to endure a similarly testing process.

The similarities between the hearings of Jackson and Marshall – specifically, a shared focus by questioners on crime and race – are unmistakable, constitutional law scholar Margaret M. Russell writes.

“In all likelihood, Jackson will become the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, representing another momentous step forward for this country. But it is also another reminder that transformative change on race, while continuing to progress, happens slowly in the U.S.,” Russell explains.

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Amy Lieberman

Politics + Society Editor

Ketanji Brown Jackson, speaking during her confirmation hearing on March 22, 2022, would be the first Black woman to serve on the court. Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court hearing is a flashback to how race and crime featured during Thurgood Marshall’s 1967 hearings

Margaret M. Russell, Santa Clara University

55 years after Thurgood Marshall testified during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s hearings show race and crime continue to drive questions about a Black jurist.

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