Ketanji Brown Jackson made history Thursday because the first-ever black woman sworn in as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jackson, 51, replaces Justice Stephen Breyer, whose resignation from the Supreme Court becomes effective at noon after his nearly 28 years of service there.
President Joe Biden nominated Jackson for the Supreme Court after Breyer announced in January that he would step down at the tip of the court’s 2021 term, which concluded Thursday morning.
In a temporary ceremony on the Supreme Court constructing in Washington, Jackson took two oaths of office.
Within the constitutional oath, delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts, Jackson solemnly swore to defend the Structure “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the identical.”
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., looks on as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson signs the Oaths of Office within the Justices’ Conference Room, Supreme Court Constructing.
Collection of the Supreme Court of america
Breyer delivered the second, statutory oath, by which Jackson swore to “administer justice without respect to individuals, and do equal right to the poor and to the wealthy.”
Jackson, smiling throughout the ceremony, was joined by her husband, Dr. Patrick Jackson, who held two bibles for the oath, and their two daughters, Talia and Leila.
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The court will hold one other formal inaugurating ceremony, called an investiture, in the autumn, Roberts said. But Thursday’s oaths allow Jackson to start her work as the latest member of the nine-seat high court. Until Thursday, she served as a judge on the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia Circuit,
“With a full heart, I accept the solemn responsibility of supporting and defending the Structure of america and administering justice without fear or favor, so help me God,” Jackson said in a written statement issued by the court.
“I’m truly grateful to be a part of the promise of our great Nation. I extend my sincerest because of all of my recent colleagues for his or her warm and gracious welcome,” Jackson said. “I’m also especially grateful for the time and a spotlight given to me by the Chief Justice and by Justice Breyer. Justice Breyer has been a private friend and mentor of mine for the past twenty years, along with being a part of today’s official act.”
Breyer, in his own statement, said, “I’m glad today for Ketanji. Her labor, integrity, and intelligence have earned her a spot on this Court. I’m glad for my fellow Justices. They gain a colleague who’s empathetic, thoughtful, and collegial. I’m glad for America. Ketanji will interpret the law properly and fairly, helping that law to work higher for the American people, whom it serves.”
Jackson was confirmed by the Senate in April by a vote of 53-47. Three Republican senators joined Democrats to verify her.
Jackson, like Breyer, is taken into account a liberal jurist. She joins two other liberal members of the court, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) (not pictured), on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 28, 2022.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
The Supreme Court has a supermajority of six conservatives, amongst them Roberts and three appointees of former President Donald Trump: Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
One other conservative, Justice Clarence Thomas, is the one other black person currently on the court. Thomas replaced the primary black man to serve on the court, Justice Thurgood Marshall, in 1991.
Jackson’s elevation comes as public confidence within the Supreme Court has sunk to historic lows following its controversial draft opinion on abortion leaked in May.
Just 25% of American adults said that they had a “great deal” or “quite quite a bit” of confidence within the court, in line with a Gallup poll released June 23.
That’s 11 percentage points lower than the extent of confidence expressed a 12 months ago and 5 percentage points below the last low, seen in 2014.
The poll was released a day before the Supreme Court issued its final opinion overturning its 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, saying there is no such thing as a federal constitutional right to abortion.
The brand new ruling allows individual states to set their very own restrictions on abortion without fear of running afoul of Roe, which permitted pregnancies to be terminated generally.
Trump’s appointees provided the votes needed to overturn Roe, joining with Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the bulk opinion.