Ketanji Brown Jackson Sworn in as First Black Woman on Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson has been sworn in as the first Black female justice on the Supreme Court. Keep scrolling to find out more about the Harvard Law grad’s journey.

By Tamantha Gunn Jun 30, 2022 5:01 PMTags
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UPDATE: Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice on June 30, making history as the first Black woman to take a seat on the country's highest court.

The 51-year-old, a former public defender and federal appeals court judge, is the sixth female and third Black justice. She replaced retiring fellow liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, her friend and mentor. Jackson assumed her post six days after the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.

"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 statement from the court. "I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great Nation. I extend my sincerest thanks to all of my new colleagues for their warm and gracious welcome."


History has been made!

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On Thursday, April 7, the Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, as the first Black woman justice on the Supreme Court with a vote of 53-47. She will take her seat this summer after Justice Stephen Breyer retires.

Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Miami, Fla. Throughout her childhood, she won attention for her speech and debate skills and was later named student body president of Miami Palmetto Senior High School.

She graduated with honors from both Harvard University and Harvard Law School. Currently, she lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband of 25 years, Patrick, and their two daughters, Leila, 20, and Talia, 17.

On Feb. 25, President Joe Biden announced that he was nominating Jackson to become the 116th Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court after Justice Breyer announced his retirement.

During the opening statement for the confirmation hearing on March 21, Jackson directly addressed her daughters. 

"I know it has not been easy as I have tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood," she said, according to CNN. "And I fully admit that I did not always get the balance right. But I hope that you have seen that with hard work, determination, and love, it can be done. I am so looking forward to seeing what each of you chooses to do with your amazing lives in this incredible country."

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Jackson became emotional during the March 23 hearing as Democratic Senator Cory Booker acknowledged the obstacles that she had to overcome to earn the nomination.
"You have earned this spot," Booker said. "You are worthy. You are a great American."

(Originally published Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 11:29 a.m. PT)

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