Leila Jackson Letter: Ketanji Jackson’s Daughter Wrote Obama

leila jackson

Getty Leila Jackson (r) sits with her father behind Judge Ketanji Jackson.

Leila Jackson is one of the two daughters of Joe Biden’s new Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson and her husband Dr. Patrick Graves Jackson. Leila Jackson wrote a letter to then-President Barack Obama, imploring him to choose her mother for the U.S. Supreme Court.

That was for the Antonin Scalia seat, and Obama didn’t pick Brown Jackson then. However, the federal judge was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Joe Biden on February 25, 2022.

Brown Jackson told the story about the letter in a 2017 speech, which you can watch later in this article. In that speech, she heavily focused on stories about her husband and daughters, as well as work-life balance.

The New York Times reports that, “In 1996, she earned her law degree and married Dr. Jackson. They now have two daughters, Talia, 21, and Leila, 17.”

Biden wrote on Twitter on February 25, 2022, “I’m proud to announce that I am nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court. Currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, she is one of our nation’s brightest legal minds and will be an exceptional Justice.”

Here’s what you need to know about Leila Jackson’s letter to Obama:

Leila Jackson Wrote Obama That Her Mother Is ‘Determined, Honest & Never Breaks a Promise to Anyone’

In that 2017 speech, the judge revealed that her daughter, Leila, wrote President Barack Obama a letter urging him to name her mother to the U.S. Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia died. She said that some of Leila’s friends felt her mother should apply for that position, so she decided to write the president to “tell him who you are.”

“Dear Mr. President, while you are considering judges to fill Justice Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court, I would like to add my mother Ketanji Brown Jackson of the district court to the list,” the letter read, according to Jackson’s speech.

“I, her daughter Leila Jackson of 11 years old, strongly believe that she would be an excellent fit for the position. She is determined, honest and never breaks a promise to anyone, even if there are other things she’d rather do,” Jackson read from her daughter’s letter. “She can demonstrate commitment, and is loyal and never brags. I think she would make a great Supreme Court justice, even if the workload will be larger on the court or if you have other nominees. Please consider her aspects for the job. Thank you for listening.”

In the Speech, Brown Jackson Described the Difficulties of Being Both a New Lawyer & a Young Mother

ketanji brown jackson

GettyKetanji Brown Jackson, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Senate Office Building on April 28, 2021.

Brown Jackson described having her first daughter Talia, while she was a new lawyer and trying to balance the demands of a young family and a fledgling law career.

In 2017, she said that one daughter was 12 “but thinks she is 21” and the second had just turned 16. She spoke extensively about her children in a 2017 speech, explaining that she suffered from “whiplash” because during the work day she is a federal judge. But when she comes home her daughters “make it very clear” that they think she “knows nothing” and shouldn’t give them orders, if they talk to her at all.

Brown Jackson called them the “sassy sisters.”

She said though that she hoped that deep down they appreciated the “journey” they are on together. She called them “precocious teenagers.”

Jackson said she wondered what would happen if her worlds collided. She said Talia was born a few months after she took a new law firm job.

“The firm was very supportive, but I don’t think it is possible to overstate the degree of difficulty that many young women and especially new mothers face in the law firm context,” Jackson continued in a 2017 speech.

She continued, “The hours are long. The workflow is unpredictable. You have little control over your time and your schedule, and you start to feel as though the demands of the billable hour are constantly in conflict with the needs of your children and your family responsibilities.”

In the speech, she described what she wants to teach her children. “I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunities that I’ve had in life,” she said. “I believe it’s my obligation to teach my children to refrain from casting aspersions on others because of their life circumstances. In other words, as they often say in religious circles: I know that there but for the grace of God go I.”

According to Medstar Health, the judge’s husband and the girls’ father, Patrick Jackson, is a surgeon working at Pasquerilla Healthcare Center in Washington, D.C.

She said she was married “happily” in the 2017 speech. His area of practice, according to that site, includes:

Abdominal Surgery
Abdominal Wall Reconstruction
Breast Biopsy

A cache of an old, no-longer-visible tweet from Dr. Jackson’s Twitter page, reads, “Happy Loving Day! I am especially thankful to be walking through life with a brilliant and compassionate partner who still takes my breath away, made possible by sacrifices like Richard and Mildred Loving.”

READ NEXT: Patrick Graves Jackson, Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson’s Husband.