10 July 2022 :
Ketanji Brown Jackson Becomes First Black Woman to Serve as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
Ketanji Brown Jackson has been sworn in as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the first Black woman to serve as a justice in the 232-year history of the Court.
In an historic ceremony at the Supreme Court shortly after the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer took effect at noon on June 30, 2022, Chief Justice John Roberts administered the Constitutional Oath to Justice Jackson. Justice Breyer, for whom Justice Jackson served as a law clerk during the Court’s 1999-2000 term, then administered the Judicial Oath.
Jackson, the 116th justice of the Court, was elevated to the Court by President Joe Biden from her position as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She is the 1st former federal public defender to serve on the Court and the 1st justice since Thurgood Marshall’s appointment in 1967 to have any significant experience representing indigent defendants in criminal cases.
In nominating Jackson, President Biden said, “For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America. … 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.” Jackson’s ascension to the Court marks the first time in its history that a majority of the justice are not White men.
“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. “I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great Nation.”
Even with its increased racial and gender diversity, Jackson joins a Court with three judicial appointments by former President Donald Trump and a conservative supermajority that has aggressively rewritten federal statutory and constitutional law. The Court has just completed a judicial term that has been described as the most conservative since 1931 — the year before the Court held in Powell v. Alabama that indigent capital defendants have a due process right to be represented by appointed counsel.