Local 12: Impact of Judge Jackson Supreme Court hearings felt all the way in the Tri-State

UC Law Dean Verna Williams discusses historic nomination

Confirmation hearings are underway for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and is now under consideration for the U.S. Supreme Court. She would be the first Black woman to serve on the high court and would replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

Verna Williams, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, is among a handful of Black women who have argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. She spoke with local media about President Biden's choice for the high court.

"In her I saw daughter, my students, my friends, myself and it's just a whole array of Black women working hard and trying to make a difference, and here she is," Williams said of Jackson to Local 12 reporter Cassandra Arsenault for a story.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court first assembled in 1790, a total of 115 people have served as justices; of that number, 108 were white men.  Only two African Americans, both males, along with one Hispanic woman and four white women have served on the high court in 232 years.

Dean Williams joined the UC faculty in 2001 and is a cum laude graduate of both Harvard Law School and Georgetown University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. Before joining the College of Law, Dean Williams was vice president and director of educational opportunities at the National Women’s Law Center, where she focused on issues of gender equity in education. 

During her time at the Center, Williams was lead counsel and successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court the case Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, which established that Title IX requires educational institutions to respond to and address known complaints of student-to-student sexual harassment. 

Williams discussed Jackson's historic confirmation proceedings.

"It signals the breaking of another barrier for black women," Williams told Local 12.

Listen to the full interview online.

Featured image of Verna Williams being interview by Local 12 News crew provided.