Ketanji Brown Jackson made history in June 2022 when she was sworn in as the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court. Since taking her spot on the bench, Jackson has lent her name to various assenting and dissenting takes. Today (Feb. 28), for the first time since being inducted, Jackson penned a majority opinion for the Court, once again making history as the first Black woman to do so.
SCOTUS ruled unanimously in Delaware v. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with Jackson taking the lead on communicating its ruling to the public. It involved a dispute between Delaware and other states over unclaimed MoneyGram checks. They adjudicated against Delaware, finding that it could not keep the funds simply because the payment company is based there. Instead, they must be given to the states in which the checks were originally purchased.
In her summary of the 9-0 decision, Jackson wrote that these are similar to money orders and thus should be treated the same under federal law. She added that “given the history and text” of the law in question, “it would be strange” to grant an exemption to MoneyGram checks.
Though it’s Jackson’s first time speaking for most of the Court, it isn’t her first time speaking on an issue presented to the justices. She has drawn up minority opinions since the Court’s term began in October 2022. In November 2022, she expressed her support for a death row inmate from Ohio who failed to get the Court to review his case. That same month, she led another dissension explaining why she deviated from the majority verdict to not put a hold on an execution in Missouri. And just this month, she disagreed with the choice to not take up a criminal defendant’s claim that his lawyer didn’t provide adequate legal representation.
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