Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson makes history as Supreme Court's first Black woman justice

B.R. Shenoy

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"It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we've made it," Jackson said in April.

On June 30, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the nation's first Black woman to ever hold the title of associate justice in the Supreme Court's more than 230-year history, per Yahoo News.

Jackson, 51, a Miami native and Harvard-trained lawyer, is the court's 116th justice, succeeding Justice Stephen Breyer, who retired after nearly three decades of service.

When Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement earlier this year, Biden chose Jackson to fill his vacancy. The president previously stated that appointing a Black woman to the Supreme Court is "long overdue."

Here is an excerpt from USA Today:

“Previously a judge on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Jackson took the oath of office at a fraught moment for the high court, as its decisions to overturn Roe v. Wade and expand access to handguns have exacerbated tensions among the justices and underscored divisions among Americans over culture war issues.”

In April, the Senate confirmed Jackson, who worked as a law clerk for Breyer, by a vote of 53-47, with three Republican lawmakers siding with the Democrats.

Jackson recited two oaths required of Supreme Court justices during her swearing-in ceremony, one administered by Breyer and the other by Chief Justice John Roberts.

When Justice Jackson took the oaths, her husband and two daughters were present.

Why It Matters

Per The Guardian, Jackson, a federal judge since 2013, joins three other female justices: Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Amy Coney Barrett.

This is the first time in history that four women will serve on the nine-member court together.

According to Fox News:

“Jackson is officially the third Black person to sit on the Supreme Court. The first Black Supreme Court justice was Thurgood Marshall who served on the court from 1967 to 1991. The second Black justice is Clarence Thomas, Marshall’s successor in 1991, who currently sits on the bench.”

Per The Hill:

“Although Jackson’s addition does not fundamentally change the ideological balance on the 6-3 conservative-majority court, court watchers say her unique voice and background, including her service as a public defender, could make her an inspiring and forceful presence on the bench.”

The Supreme Court just completed its term and will not hear cases again until October.

What are your thoughts on this historic appointment? Please share in the comments.

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