ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County’s first African American female family court judge in the Seventh Judicial District of New York calls Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s service as the first black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court monumental.
Judge Fatimat O. Reid said, “It shows not only my children but it shows all other children that they belong in any space.”
Judge Reid paused, like many others across the country Thursday, to witness the historic swearing-in ceremony at the Supreme Court Building.
In 2019, Reid, a mother of five children, became the first black county-wide judge for Monroe County. Reid remembers her family beaming with pride as she took the oath of office just as Justice Jackson’s husband and two daughters did today.
“It’s really important for the trust in our legal system to know that our legal system does mirror the community that we live in,” said Judge Reid.
President Joe Biden fulfilled a campaign promise to nominate the first black woman to the Supreme Court in February, but Jackson’s Senate confirmation hearings did not come without tense moments filled with emotion and partisan divide.
Despite an impeccable resume and unique legal experiences, the 51-year-old Jackson faced stiff opposition.
“I was not surprised,” said Judge Reid, who encountered people who said she wasn’t the right fit as she campaigned in Rochester and surrounding communities. “My qualifications would be questioned sometimes. I was surprised by it because, not only did I have private practice experience, I worked for the government and I worked as an administrator at a large school district.”
Since taking office, Judge Reid worked as a bridge between the courtroom and the community. She also serves as the acting Supreme Court Justice for the 7th district.
Reid said she has no doubt that Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson will serve with distinction and represent the best of what America should embody.
“It’s about being able to bring a different perspective to the bench,” she added.
Justice Jackson replaced Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court. Jackson’s official investiture will be held in the fall.