How the school debate team shaped Ketanji Brown Jackson

How the school debate team shaped Ketanji Brown Jackson

They traveled by bus to competitions in Florida and stayed at Holiday Inns. They flew to Ivy League campuses for national competitions. 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 speech than debate: oratory, where contestants write and deliver original speeches, and interpretation, where they perform dramatic or humorous pieces from existing material. She was the national champion in oratory.

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

The summaries of the debaters are impressive. Nathaniel Persily, Professor of Constitutional Law at Stanford. Judge Laura Ann Stuzin of Florida’s 11th judicial district. Benjamin J. Greenberg, prom girl turned US attorney, is now in private practice.

“It’s like doctor, doctor, professor, professor, lawyer, lawyer, professor, judge, judge, doctor,” said Stephen F. Rosenthal, a Miami lawyer who has known Judge Jackson since high school and considers her one of his best friends. . . He met his future wife, Mindy Zane Rosenthal, a Miami Beach high school debater, at a competition. (Then he went to Harvard.)

Last month, when Judge Jackson’s name surfaced at the top of most lists of candidates to replace outgoing Judge Steven J. Breuer, even the Palmetto debaters, who no longer interacted much, began texting each other to gawk. Someone sent out a photo of the debate team from the past, as well as a photo of Judge Jackson and Mr. Rosenthal from their senior yearbook.