History was made today. Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the 116th Supreme Court justice, becoming the first Black woman to serve on the highest court.
Appointed by Biden in February, Jackson, 51, was then confirmed in a 53-47 vote by the senate in April. After Justice Stephen Bryer, 83, retired today, Jackson officially filled his seat when she signed the oaths of office in the Justice’s Conference Room at the Supreme Court this afternoon. Jackson was joined at the ceremony by her two daughters and husband, as well as Bryer and Chief Justice John Roberts who recited the two oaths.
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“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 in a statement issued by the court. “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.”
Joining Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett, Jackson will serve on the most gender-equal court in history, with four female justices out of nine. Though Ketanji is a liberal-leaning justice, her swearing in will not shake the 6-3 conservative majority.
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The ceremony comes after the leaked Supreme Court Draft opinion on Roe v. Wade, and its eventual overturning has eroded trust for many in the nation’s highest court. The Supreme Court also released two more momentous rulings this morning, limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions for existing plants and allowing Biden to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy, left over from the Trump administration.
In her first first few days on the court, Jackson already has multiple controversial cases ahead of her. First, she will hear a case regarding the Clean Water Act, then a provision of the Voting Rights Act that bans racial discrimination. While unscheduled, she will also hear cases on affirmative action and same-sex marriage.
Photo via Getty/ Kevin Lamarque-Pool