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Ketanji Brown Jackson just became the first Black woman to be sworn into the Supreme Court today. The addition of Jackson is making history in many ways.
Jackson Is Making History
President Joe Biden chose Jackson after Justice Stephen G. Breyer announced his plans to step down this year. Even though the Senate confirmed her last April, Jackson was waiting for Justice Breyer to finish his four-decade-long career. She will be the court’s 116th justice, its first black woman, and four women will be on the bench together for the first time.
I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great Nation
The ceremony was live-streamed for all to see her take two oaths of office. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. oversaw the constitutional oath and Justice Breyer administered the judicial oath. Jackson served as a law clerk under Breyer and is now replacing him on the bench. Later in the fall, Justices Jackson and Roberts will walk down the court’s front steps in a formal investiture ceremony. Roberts is eager to work with the court’s newest member who he described as “anxious to get to work without any further delay.” He welcomed her to “our court and our common calling.” With the new appointment, she will be able to take part in the cases brought forward to the court this summer. She has already begun assembling her chambers, having hired four law clerks.
Gratitude For A New Future
Jackson put out a statement addressing her thoughts on her swearing-in:
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. 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. I am also especially grateful for the time and attention given to me by the Chief Justice and by Justice Breyer. Justice Breyer has been a personal friend and mentor of mine for the past two decades, in addition to being part of today’s official act. In the wake of his exemplary service, with the support of my family and friends, and ever mindful of the duty to promote the Rule of Law, I am well-positioned to serve the American people.
Breyer also released a statement praising Jackson’s hard work and intelligence for earning her a place on the Court.
I am glad for my fellow Justices,” he added. “They gain a colleague who is empathetic, thoughtful, and collegial. I am glad for America. Ketanji will interpret the law wisely and fairly, helping that law to work better for the American people, whom it serves.
President Biden saw the event as “a profound step forward for our nation.”
For all the young Black girls who now see themselves reflected on our highest court, and for all of us as Americans.
Written by Chiagozie Onyewuchi
Edited by Sheena Robertson
CNN politics: Ketanji Brown Jackson joins US Supreme Court as first Black woman on the bench; by Chandelis Duster and Ariane de Vogue
The Washington Post: Now a justice, Jackson eager to be ‘part of the promise of our great Nation’; by John Wagner and Mariana Alfaro
NPR News: Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn in as first Black woman on the Supreme Court; by Ximena Bustillo