MIAMI (CBSMiami) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement from the Supreme Court at the end of its current term has reignited questions of who will succeed him.

One name on the short list is former south Florida resident Ketanji Brown Jackson
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, who was born in Washington D.C., was a star student at Miami Palmetto Senior High School in Pinecrest. She was on the debate team, student body president and expressed an interest in becoming a judge even as a senior

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“When we started hearing about it last night and seeing all the articles that came out, it makes us really proud,” Palmetto High Principal Victoria Dobbs.

If selected, Jackson would be the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court.

“Absolutely, positively, it’s so inspiring for me,” said Gracie Bloom, who graduated from Palmetto High.

During her time at Palmetto High, Jackson was a star member of the debate team. She was also a Silver Knight Award nominee.

In her senior yearbook Jackson said, “I want to go into law and eventually have a judicial appointment.”

Dobbs said some former teachers still remember her fondly.

“I think more importantly that she’s very qualified for the job and not just that she’s a woman,” she said.

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Some students at the school were excited for what this potential historic nomination could mean for their own futures.

“We’ve had a few famous people and a few successful people come out of the school so, I’m just waiting until I graduate,” said senior Xavier Mendez.

After graduating from Palmetto High, Jackson went on to Harvard.

President Joe Biden selected her to replace Attorney General Merrick Garland on the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, considered to be the nation’s second most powerful court, in March 2021, and she was confirmed by the Senate in June.

Before joining the D.C. Circuit, Jackson was a U.S. district judge in the District of Columbia and vice-chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. At her confirmation hearing to the federal district court, Jackson was introduced by then-Congressman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin who would go on to serve as House speaker before retiring in 2018. Ryan and Jackson are related by marriage.

Jackson also worked as an assistant special counsel for the sentencing panel for two years, followed by two years as an assistant federal public defender. The judge has been hailed for her work as a former public defender, as judicial groups argue there is a dearth of professional diversity on the federal bench.

“To appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court is significant because Black women have been historically excluded from this exclusive group” says Florida memorial University Dr Frederick Hunter

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“It offers the opportunity to see another glass ceiling being broken but also the opportunity to have another Black voice on the court that gives light to the experiences of individuals as it relates to today.”