Judge Jackson Would Be a Voice for Workers on U.S. Supreme Court


Working Americans have increasingly been receiving the short end of the stick from the nation’s judicial branch, as an influx of conservative judges across the federal system have tamped down on their efforts to join together and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits and safer workplaces. Corporate power, it appears, has taken precedent.

No one person – not even on the highest court in the land – can fix that on their own. But the Senate’s confirmation of U.S. Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the newest justice at the U.S. Supreme Court would go a long way towards ensuring hardworking Americans have an ally who is watching out for them. Even a look at just her recent record shows she is a voice for worker justice.

In her first written opinion as a member of the D.C. Circuit Court last month, Judge Jackson overturned a Trump administration policy directive that restricted the bargaining power of public sector workers. It involved a 2020 change to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) requiring collective bargaining only in instances where workplace changes would have a “substantial impact on a condition of employment.” This decision effectively weakened federal-sector labor unions’ bargaining power.

But in her Feb. 1 judgment, Judge Jackson ruled that decision was the wrong one. “The cursory policy statement that the FLRA issued to justify its choice to abandon thirty-five years of precedent promoting and applying the de minimis standard and to adopt the previously rejected substantial-impact test is arbitrary and capricious,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, as a federal district judge in 2018, Jackson ruled against the Trump administration in a lawsuit brought by federal employee unions challenging three of the former president’s executive orders on the collective bargaining rights of federal workers. The unions argued that the orders exceeded the president’s powers and conflicted with both federal labor laws and the employees’ constitutional rights.

Mix that in with a career judicial record that has stood up for voting rights, civil rights and human rights, and you have a champion on the bench looking out for regular people who too often find themselves disenfranchised by government and big business.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on her nomination to the Supreme Court next week, with the full Senate to follow thereafter. Fairness demands that Judge Jackson be confirmed as the newest member of high court.