CLEO, Inc.

A Statement by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. Saluting Ketanji Brown Jackson In Her Historic Rise to the U.S. Supreme Court

Alexandria, VA—April 11, 2022—The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) congratulates Hon. Ketanji Brown Jackson, Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, who, sometime this summer, is poised to become the 116th Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and the first African-American woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.

“The excellence demonstrated by the judge is what we at CLEO persistently strive to help our students emulate,” said Interim Chief Executive Officer, Leigh Allen II. “Per our mission statement, as we continue ‘to inspire, motivate, and prepare students from underrepresented communities to succeed in law school and beyond,’ we applaud this momentous occasion while, once more, being able to highlight to our Fellows, Scholars, and mentees the importance of diversity to the legal profession. Judge Jackson’s long overdue and well-deserving confirmation underscores this precept and reinforces the idea to current and future generations of diverse legal practitioners that they too have a place in the profession.”

Much information about Judge Jackson has been bandied about. Such an important “first” spurred us to ask Hon. Denise Owens, Judge, Fifth Chancery Court in Mississippi; CLEO, Inc. Board member; and proud alumna, “What do we hope from this appointment?”

“Our judicial system is one of the most respected instruments of justice in the world,” Judge Owens stated. “To know that we have diversity amongst the justices, gives me great pride as it signifies that one of the main principles that our government is embracing, is a greater dedication to diversity. Justice Jackson will be commemorated in history for being the first black female U.S. Supreme Court Justice, which is a truly wonderful accomplishment. Her appointment signifies to minorities across the nation that there is quite literally no goal that is out of our reach. Her appointment will also help restore faith in the justice system, because we now have diverse representation in the nation’s highest court that better mirrors the diversity we have in our country. Additionally, Judge Jackson is a person who brings diverse experiences, both in life and throughout her legal career. I hope these experiences will aid in providing the Supreme Court perspectives that may have been overlooked prior to her arrival.”

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson deserves our utmost respect and support for her new role as a leader in our country.