By Karen Stokes
History was made at noon on Thursday, June 30 as The Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the 116th member of the Supreme Court making her the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., administered the Constitutional Oath and Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer will administer the Judicial Oath in a ceremony in the West Conference Room before a small gathering of Judge Jackson’s family. Her husband, Patrick G. Jackson, held the Bible.
Justice Jackson 51, a former public defender and federal appeals court judge, replaces Justice Stephen Breyer 83, who has officially retired from the high court.
Jackson served eight years as a federal trial court judge, issuing over 500 opinions, and last June was confirmed for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia after also being nominated for that post by President Joe Biden.
Jackson is the first Supreme Court justice since Thurgood Marshall to have represented impoverished criminal defendants as a public defender.
In April, Jackson’s nomination was confirmed by the Senate in a 53-47 vote.
“For too long our government, our courts, haven’t looked like America,” President Joe Biden said when he nominated Jackson. “I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation.”
“With a full heart, I accept the solemn responsibility of supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States and administering justice without fear or favor, so help me God,” Jackson said in a written statement. “I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great Nation.”
A formal investiture ceremony will take place at a special sitting of the Court in the Courtroom at a later date.