Kentanj Brown Jackson in Speech & Debate

“[Ketanji Brown Jackson] grew up to be a star student — elected mayor of her junior high school and president of her high school class, where she was a standout — she was a standout on the speech and debate team. And it was after a debate tournament that took place at Harvard when she was in high school that she believed she could one day be a student there.  There were those who told her she shouldn’t set her sights too high, but she refused to accept limits others set for her.   President Joe Biden


How a High School Debate Team Shaped Ketanji Brown Jackson

High schoolers on Ketanji Brown Jackson’s old debate team inspired by her nomination

Debaters At Chicago’s Gary Comer College Prep Are Inspired By Story Of U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Judge Ketanji Brown

Who is Kentanji Brown Jackson?

Jackson attended a predominantly white high school where she learned to think on her feet as a member of the debate team.

Stephen Rosenthal, who met her in 7th grade, was a member of that team and a close friend. He said, “She was one of the, if not the, shining star on the team. She was a standout in every way.”

Moriarty asked, “You described her as ‘the Simone Biles of oratory,’ which brings to mind agility.”

“Yeah. Simone Biles has all these gold medals around her neck. That was the way Ketanji was with debate trophies. She had more hardware, you know, than anybody else.”

But the quality that her friends mention most is her ability to listen, and weigh all sides of an argument – a skill, they say, that will serve her well at confirmation hearings that begin tomorrow.

Fairfax said, “Ketanji is the ultimate preparer, and she’s going to be prepared.”