Biden’s nomination of a Black woman to high court is significant, even if political, says Tulane expert

Feb 22, 2022

2 min

Nancy MaveetyAndrea S. Boyles

President Joe Biden has chosen Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circruit as his choice for the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. If confirmed, she will become the first Black woman on the nation's highest court.

Professor Nancy Maveety, a Supreme Court expert and chair of the Political Science Department at Tulane University, said Biden’s nomination of a Black woman to the high court is significant in two ways.

“First, it will represent an appointment breaking another barrier based on race and gender, further diversifying the High Bench so that it ‘looks like America,’ ” said Maveety, author of Picking Judges, a book that examines the dynamics of screening and choosing judicial nominees and the confirmation process.

Andrea Boyles, a Tulane sociologist, said the nomination of a Black woman to the Supreme Court is long overdue. "Black women in America have long been consistent, boots-on-the-ground galvanizers for all-things-civil and human rights," she said. "And it is past time to have that rich legacy recognized in every place, including the upper echelons of the federal government."

The nomination of Jackson also continues a long practice of presidents making appointments to represent certain demographic interests—whether those be regional, religious or ethnic—as well as to reflect or cultivate the power of certain constituencies in the party’s electoral base, Maveety said.

She likened the move to President Lyndon Johnson’s appointment of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black justice, and the importance of Black voters to the Democratic Party’s electoral success. President Ronald Reagan’s appointment of the first female justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, addressed the Republican party’s concerns about the gender gap in voting, Maveety said.

As for the confirmation process, Maveety said it will be partisan and polarized, though not as intense as recent confirmations. “Because Biden’s nominee will presumably replace one liberal-voting justice with another and given that the Court’s current ‘liberal bloc’ is also a minority, the political stakes of this appointment are much lower than in the case of a swing seat.”

Boyles called Jackson's credentials impeccable and worthy of celebration but said her advancement should not be treated as tokenism.

"The Black community will be watching her confirmation and all actors involved intently, for what must be a protected, well-respected, fair and equitable process," Boyles said.

Connect with:
Nancy Maveety

Nancy Maveety

Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science

U.S. Supreme Court studies, constitutional law, judicial decision making and comparative judicial politics

U.S. Supreme Court
Andrea S. Boyles

Andrea S. Boyles

Associate Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies

Dr. Boyles is an expert in race and social justice; Black citizen-police conflict; neighborhood disorder/crime; community; and resistance.

Qualitative MethodsNeighborhood Disadvantage and DisorderIntersections of Race, Class and GenderSocial InequalityPolice-Citizen Relations

You might also like...

Check out some other posts from Tulane University

1 min

Expert: Historic password breach creates public urgency for better password protection

Cybercriminals recently executed a significant breach, stealing the world’s most extensive collection of passwords. These stolen credentials, a staggering 10 billion unique passwords, have been uploaded to the notorious RockYou2024 database, a hub for cybercriminal activity. Tulane University cybersecurity expert Demetrice Rogers says the stolen passwords are a significant vulnerability for most users and underscore the need for strong password management. With malicious actors now armed with an extensive database of nearly 10 billion unique passwords, the risk of successful hacks on unsuspecting users is significantly higher. "The massive growth of the RockYou2024 password list shows just how tough it’s getting to keep our accounts safe. Hackers will love this list, making it a go-to tool for breaking into accounts. We need strong, unique passwords and multi-factor authentication to stay one step ahead. Think of it like locking your doors and setting the alarm—essential steps to keep the cybercriminals out." Rogers can cover: • How users can check to see if their information and passwords are included in the leak. • The importance of creating strong, unique passwords for each account and using reputable password managers to generate and store them securely. (Many users use the same password across multiple websites, making an attacker’s job much easier.) • Why adopting multi-factor authentication is increasingly important to ensure account security.

2 min

Are soaring home insurance rates in Gulf Coast states coming for the rest of the country?

The Gulf Coast faces an expected active 'above-normal' hurricane season, with many insurance carriers withdrawing from the market. Homeowners are left with skyrocketing rates and dwindling coverage options. Louisiana bore the brunt with four major hurricanes in 2020 and 2021, causing $75 billion in combined damage. The state passed a series of insurance reforms to attract more insurance companies, following in the footsteps of Florida. Insurance woes for homeowners aren’t just a coastal issue. Homeowners in the Midwest are struggling with insurance carriers because of damage from the record amount of tornadoes. Wildfires in the US are also a growing threat to insurance carriers, accounting for an annual total cost between $394 billion and $893 billion. Christopher Otten, an insurance and legal expert at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business, is available to speak about the impact of new hurricane insurance regulations in several states, the challenges of holding insurance carriers accountable from state to state and the difficulties property owners face in finding hurricane insurance. Christopher can also discuss: • Why insurance markets differ among the states in the Gulf Coast region. • The Fortified Roof incentive programs • Affordability and the need for more carriers to improve competition and pricing risk. Christopher Otten Quote: “The Gulf States are the canaries in the coal mine right now for insurance markets,” Otten said. “It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. A quiet hurricane season, as unlikely as that is, will help things some – but that doesn’t mean rates will not go up or down. They may increase less than they otherwise would have. With these new laws, particularly in Louisiana, it will take a hurricane for us to know how the new regulations are shaping out.” Contact Roger Dunaway, assistant director of media relations, for interviews at

2 min

Vulnerability exposed: Car dealerships grapple with fallout from cybersecurity attacks

Nearly 15,000 car dealerships across North America are still struggling to operate after a massive cyberattack has crippled their software systems. As more vehicles become connected to the Internet and reliant on digital systems, cyberattacks pose a serious risk to businesses and consumers. Tulane University cybersecurity expert Demetrice Rogers is available to discuss the next steps in auto industry recovery efforts and what other industries can learn from the incident to avoid repeat attacks. Professor Rogers can speak about: 1. The implications for data security and privacy and the possible compromise of sensitive customer data, including personal information and financial details. 2. Specific cybersecurity weaknesses within the automotive industry that made these car dealerships targets for the cyberattack. 3. Offer insights into effective cybersecurity measures and best practices that car dealerships can implement to strengthen their defenses against future cyber threats. Quote from Demetrice Rogers: “The preliminary reports indicate that the attack on CDK Global was a ransomware incident. Their systems will essentially be held hostage until specific demands, likely monetary, are fulfilled. Initial reports indicate CDK plans to pay the ransom, which could be tens of millions of dollars, to the attackers. I would expect systems to slowly come back online, with some data and processes unavailable until they have fully recovered.” “This situation highlights the critical need for an effective backup and disaster recovery program. Organizations should routinely test their recovery capabilities to ensure preparedness for such incidents. Additionally, it is generally recommended not to comply with hackers' demands or pay the ransom. While it is true that some companies opt to pay (though this is rarely publicized), it is usually more prudent to activate a well-prepared disaster recovery plan.” Contact Roger Dunaway, assistant director of media relations, for interviews at

View all posts