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Marion County judge excited for historic Supreme Court nomination

Judge Marshelle Dawkins Broadwell was one of three Black judges appointed to the bench in Marion County at the same time in December 2020.
Credit: Marshelle Dawkins Broadwell
Judge Marshelle Dawkins Broadwell in the courtroom.

INDIANAPOLIS — While watching President Joe Biden announce the newest SCOTUS nominee, Judge Marshelle Dawkins Broadwell couldn’t help but smile.  

“It’s exciting to me, because I think it’s going to make our Supreme Court look like America and that’s really meaningful to me,” Broadwell said.

The president is nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court. 

If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court in its 233-year history.  

“For too long, our government, our courts, haven’t looked like America. I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation,” Biden said.

Not only is this nomination historic, but it’s also inspiring to many young minorities. 

“It’s meaningful to Black and brown children to look at that court and see people that look like them, but for me, I also think it’s meaningful for everybody to be able to look at the court and see the diversity on the court and be able to appreciate the contributions and the potential that we all have,” Broadwell said.  

RELATED: Biden announces Ketanji Brown Jackson as Supreme Court nominee

Broadwell is also a trailblazer. In 2020, she was appointed to the bench in Marion County by the governor and was one of three Black judges sworn in at the time. 

Credit: AP
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks after President Joe Biden announced Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Cross Hall of the White House, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

She previously served as a magistrate judge in the Marion Superior Court, where she heard criminal, civil and family law matters. She is a Butler University graduate and earned her law degree from the Indiana University McKinney School of Law.  

“We are certainly not the first Black judges in Marion County. I have a lot of role models in Marion County that were on the bench before I was, but it was exciting and meaningful to have all three of us appointed at the same time,” Broadwell said.  

It’s something Broadwell hopes to see more of, not just in the judicial system but in all industries.  

RELATED: Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson? Meet Biden's Supreme Court nominee

“It’s really meaningful when you go around the courthouse and there are people that look like you and have the same experiences you have that are in this position,” Broadwell said.  

Judges like Jackson and Broadwell continue to pave the way so one day, others can follow in their footsteps.  

“If I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, I can only hope that my life and career, my love of this country and the Constitution, and my commitment to upholding the rule of law and the sacred principles upon which this great nation was founded, will inspire future generations of Americans,” Jackson said.  

If Jackson is confirmed, it won’t change the balance of the Supreme Court. There are currently six conservative Justices and three liberal Justices.  

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