SCOTUS Justice Under Scrutiny For Faulty Claims

SCOTUS Justice Under Scrutiny For Faulty Claims

( – Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has come under fire due to an imprecise and potentially false claim about a study she cited in her dissent in the overturning of Affirmative Action that found Black infant mortality to be lower when under the care of Black physicians.

Jackson’s dissent in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College cited a study finding that Black infant mortality was lower when babies were under the care of a Black physician. Jackson cited this study in her dissenting opinion to help argue that “race-conscious” practices that promote “racial equity” can, in many circumstances, save lives.

The study, which initially came from an argument laid out in an amicus brief filed by an association of medical colleges, is now raising eyebrows, as a letter from the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to the Supreme Court docket stated that Jackson’s citation “warrant’s clarification.”

While the letter concluded that the study supported Jackson’s argument, the law firm insisted that her argument could have been more precise. While the study found that Black infant mortality decreased among Black babies being cared for by Black physicians, the letter noted that “survival” and “mortality,” despite being opposites, are “not interchangeable.”

The letter also proposed an alternative way of making Jackson’s argument, saying that Black newborns being cared for by Black physicians “reduces by more than half” the possibility of death when compared with white newborns.

The main takeaway here is that Jackson’s claim that newborn Black babies being cared for by Black physicians “more than doubles” the chances of their survival could be misleading due to the study being based on examined lower mortality rates, which is statistically not the same thing as survival.

Senior attorney Ted Frank, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, slammed the Supreme Court justice, calling her argument “mathematically impossible,” saying that a reduction of more than half the likelihood of mortality for Black newborns is impossible, as that would be thousands of dead infants every week.

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