How a high school debate team shaped Ketanji Brown Jackson

They traveled by bus to Florida competitions and stayed in Holiday Inns. They flew to Ivy League campuses for national meets. This is how Judge Jackson fell in love with Harvard, which she would later attend for her undergraduate and law degrees.

“We all ended up in Ivy League schools,” joked Ms. Chafetz, who went to Cornell.

Judge Jackson competed in two disciplines that were more speeches than debates: oratory, where contestants write and deliver original speeches, and acting, where they interpret dramatic or humorous portions from existing material. She was a National Public Speaking Champion.

Ms Berger died in 2008. Judge Jackson was among several debaters cited in her Miami Herald obituary.

The CVs of the debaters are impressive. Nathaniel Persily, professor of constitutional law at Stanford. Judge Laura Anne Stuzin of the Florida 11th Judicial Circuit. Benjamin G. Greenberg, the prom date became a lawyer in the United States, now in private practice.

“It’s like doctor, doctor, professor, professor, lawyer, lawyer, professor, judge, judge, doctor,” said Stephen F. Rosenthal, a Miami attorney who has known Judge Jackson since college and counts her among his best friends. . He met his future wife, Mindy Zane Rosenthal, a debater at Miami Beach Senior High, at a contest. (Then he went to Harvard.)

Last month, when Judge Jackson’s name topped most lists of candidates to replace incumbent Judge Stephen G. Breyer, even Palmetto debaters who were no longer in frequent contact began to text each other. texting to keep you speechless. Someone sent in a photo of the then-debate team, along with a photo of Judge Jackson and Mr. Rosenthal from their senior yearbook.

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