As the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court, Ketanji Brown Jackson has been sworn in, smashing a glass ceiling.The 116th justice of the court, Jackson, who is now 51, replaced the justice she previously supported on Thursday.
At midday, Justice Stephen Breyer officially announced his retirement.After Breyer, 83, said he would step down at the conclusion of the court’s term, Biden nominated Jackson in February, presuming Jackson’s replacement had been confirmed. In an era of extreme partisanship, particularly with regard to federal judgeships, Breyer’s earlier-than-usual announcement and the condition he attached were an acknowledgment of the Democrats’ precarious hold on the Senate.
Early in April, the Senate approved Jackson’s candidacy with a vote of 53 to 47 that was largely along party lines and included three Republicans.Jackson continued to serve as a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., but he had not been hearing any cases since. This left him in a sort of judicial limbo. She was appointed by President Barack Obama as a district judge, but Biden promoted her to that court.
For the first time on the nine-member court, Jackson, a federal judge since 2013, will serve alongside Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Amy Coney Barrett, along with three other women.”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 issued by 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.”The 116th justice of the court, Jackson, who is now 51, replaced the justice she previously supported on Thursday. At midday, Justice Stephen Breyer officially announced his retirement.