Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has been seated on the prestigious high court for less than a year but she has reportedly already begun to work on writing a personal memoir of her life.
Random House Publishing announced on Thursday that Justice Jackson’s book would be titled “Lovely One,” CNN reported.
However, the publisher declined to specify the terms of the deal for the newest jurist’s first book, nor did it reveal a release date for when that book would become available to the general public.
Jackson’s “unlikely journey” documented
“Mine has been an unlikely journey,” Justice Jackson said in a statement released through Random House, according to the Associated Press. “But the path was paved by courageous women and men in whose footsteps I placed my own, road warriors like my own parents, and also luminaries in the law, whose brilliance and fortitude lit my way.”
“This memoir marries the public record of my life with what is less known,” she continued. “It will be a transparent accounting of what it takes to rise through the ranks of the legal profession, especially as a woman of color with an unusual name and as a mother and a wife striving to reconcile the demands of a high-profile career with the private needs of my loved ones.”
“My hope is that the fullness of my journey as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, litigator, and friend will stand as a testament for young women, people of color, and dreamers everywhere, especially those who nourish outsized ambitions and believe in the possibility of achieving them,” Jackson added.
The AP noted that the title of the forthcoming book from Jackson, “Lovely One,” is a reference to the English translation of her original West African name, Ketanji Onyika, which had been suggested to Jackson’s parents by her aunt while serving in Africa as a member of the Peace Corps.
Publisher proud to help share Jackson’s story
Random House also released a statement of its own to announce the new book deal with Justice Jackson, according to The Washington Post, and said of Jackson, “She describes her challenges and triumphs, shares her love story with refreshing honesty, lively wit, and warmth, and ultimately tells a moving, open-hearted tale that will spread hope for a more just world.”
“Her story is an ode to dreaming unabashedly, overcoming adversity, and seeking justice for all,” the announcement continued. “It is also a testament to how each of us can work towards building an extraordinary future and open doors to change for generations to come.”
“Justice Jackson invites readers into her life and world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her,” the publisher added, per the AP, “from growing up in Miami with educator parents who broke barriers during the 1960s to honing her voice as an oratory champion to performing improv and participating in pivotal student movements at Harvard to balancing the joys and demands of marriage and motherhood while advancing in Big Law — and, finally, to making history upon joining the nation’s highest court.”
Not particularly unusual these days
The Post noted that Justice Jackson’s book deal is not all that unusual, as several other justices currently on the high bench have similarly struck lucrative deals with various publishers.
That includes Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Sonia Sotomayor who have been well-compensated for writing books published under the Penguin Random House imprint, as well as Justice Clarence Thomas and the unspecified “seven-figure advance” he received from Harper Collins in 2003 for his own memoir.
Given that Supreme Court justices are barred from earning more than $30,000 annually in outside income on top of their $274,200 yearly salary, it might seem to some that the lucrative advances and royalties inherent in book deals would run afoul of that prohibition.
However, according to The Post, compensation for book-writing is not considered to be “outside earned income,” and the only real requirement in that regard is that any income received be reported annually on financial disclosure forms.