DES MOINES, Iowa — Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s appointment to the United States Supreme Court became a moment in American history on Thursday. Two prominent Iowans in the field of law both believe her confirmation will have a positive legacy for years to come.
Just as Justice Brown Jackson will be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, Judge Romonda Belcher was the first Black woman appointed to an Iowa court.
“She serves as a role model for anyone who has ever aspired to become something they’ve never seen,” said Belcher, who was appointed as an associate judge in Iowa’s 5th District in 2010. “It’s not because of our limitations, but because of a lack of opportunity.”
Des Moines-based lawyer Alfredo Parrish has argued several cases before the Supreme Court. He believes Brown Jackson has the experience and knowledge to stack up with the justices he faced in the courtroom.
“This is a big step and it makes us move closer to that arc of justice that we always are reaching for,” Parrish said. “Time will tell that a lot of people who appreciated her qualifications will see why this appointment is so historic when she starts writing her opinions.”
In addition to being a district associate judge, Belcher is also an adjunct professor at Drake University’s Law School, which is where she received her law degree. She said Justice Brown Jackson’s confirmation is a reminder to her students that they can aspire to the high court, no matter their circumstances.
“It is so important to prepare yourself so that when the opportunity presents itself, you can walk through the door or break the glass ceiling,” Belcher said.