Kobre & Kim Honors Ketanji Brown Jackson, Leondra Kruger and Juliana Michelle Childs on Black History Month

February 11, 2022

In honor of Black History Month, Kobre & Kim is reflecting on the unique contributions made by African Americans both inside and outside the legal industry. Today, we celebrate pioneering Black women serving in the U.S. judiciary: Ketanji Brown Jackson, Leondra Kruger and Julianna Michelle Childs. If nominated and confirmed to serve on the highest court in the United States, any of these women would make history as the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice. 

Ketanji Brown Jackson currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Ms. Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Miami, Florida. She attended Harvard University for college and law school. After graduating from Harvard Law School, she served as a law clerk for retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. From 2013 to 2021, Ms. Jackson served on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She was also vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission from 2010 to 2014. 

Leondra Kruger currently sits as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California. Ms. Kruger was born in Glendale, California and raised in South Pasadena. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University and Yale University, respectively. After graduating from Yale Law School, Ms. Kruger clerked for the late Justice John Paul Stevens. As a state court judge, Ms. Kruger brings a diverse perspective not seen since Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired in 2006. Ms. Kruger made history in the state of California for being the first justice to give birth while serving on the bench. At 45 years of age, Ms. Kruger is also the youngest of the reported top three candidates. 

Julianna Michelle Childs, known professionally as J. Michelle Childs, currently serves on the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. Ms. Childs was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in there and in Columbia, South Carolina. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida. As a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, Ms. Childs would be the first justice in decades to hold a law degree from a public institution on the bench. Childs also holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina School of Business and an LLM in Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law. Prior to serving as a district judge, Childs worked for a South Carolina-based corporate law firm in employment and labor law. She also worked in state government for the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.