MEMPHIS, Tenn — The swearing-in of now-Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is making history in the U.S. It’s also impacting the future generation of law students right here in Memphis.
“Yeah, I’ll do the work. That’s kind of how I like to roll,” said law student Melba Martin.
Martin is familiar with firsts.
She's the first Black woman president in the history of the University of Memphis' Student Bar Association.
“My personal goal is to fundraise more for the school and for the students," said the rising senior. "So, we can also have a portion that where we could put more back into the community.”
“I am someone who does like to stay in the background," she said. "How I became president is beyond me.”
Martin said that Justice Jackson being sworn in Thursday will level the playing field for diversity in the courtroom.
“Just happiness,” she said of her initial reaction.
In the middle of the recent Supreme Court controversy, Martin said Jackson is a role model, signifying no boundaries for the Black community.
“We've been told as Black women especially that you know, you're in a box," she said. "But we're constantly getting role models like Justice Jackson to show us that that's not the case.”
Martin said it's showing law students like herself, that could be me.
The law student said recently witnessing an injustice is motivating Martin to pursue criminal law, representing victims.
“It just interests me a lot to see how people use their power and their lack of knowledge trying to threaten other people," she said.
She's planning to help to put justice on the right path.
“With these supreme court decisions, it's always changing, unfortunately," she said. "You always have to be prepared and always read up on all the new decisions."
Martin said it is critical to read about legal decisions from every level of government.
On the Roe v. Wade reversal, Martin said she worries it could be opening up other court decisions like same-sex marriage. She also added the science of birth at conception and fertilization depends on which doctor you’re speaking to.