Ketanji Brown Jackson is the First Black Woman to Serve on the Supreme Court

Congratulations Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson!
By Savannah Moss
Photo by Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Getty Images

After a week of controversial Supreme Court rulings, Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice Jackson took the judicial oath today and replaced Justice Stephen G. Breyer as he stepped down as the court’s current term has concluded. Senate confirmed her 53-47 in April after President Biden nominated her. She is now the 116th justice and is the 6th woman to ever serve on the highest court in the U.S.

A large group gathered to see Jackson be sworn in to celebrate. This past week, with decisions overturning Roe V. Wade and other traditionally conservative rulings, which represents the conservative majority that serves the court. Jackson does not impact the balance, as conservative judges continue with the majority of 6-3. And although some find this disheartening, many still celebrated Jackson and the historical moment she represents. In April, she said, “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.”

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

During her confirmation hearings, many Republicans tried to disqualify Jackson based on previous rulings about child sexual abusers. She was also asked to define a woman multiple times, referencing the debate about transgender people occurring right now in the U.S. Still, she was confirmed with Mitt Romney and Susan Collins voting for the nomination despite going against their parties. “Today we celebrate a monumental moment in history. Ketanji Brown Jackson, we congratulate and thank you for your dedication to this country. You are an inspiration to all girls to persevere,” said U.S. representative Stacey Plaskett.

President Biden’s nomination for Jackson comes as a campaign promise, as he said he would nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. “For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America. And I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications and that we inspire all young people to believe that they can one day serve their country at the highest level.”