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Credit: Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States
Justice Stephen G. Breyer (Retired) administers the judicial oath to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in the West Conference Room at the Supreme Court Building. Her husband, Dr. Patrick Jackson, holds the Bible.
For the first time in its 233-year history, the Supreme Court has a black woman among its sitting justices.

On Thursday 51-year-old Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in to replace the justice she once worked for as a law clerk — Justice Stephen Breyer. Justice Breyer administered the judicial oaths to her before his retirement became effective at noon, along with Chief Justice John Roberts.

“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.”

Jackson is the court's 116 justice and in replacing Justice Breyer, who sat on the bench for 27 years, joins one of the most diverse courts in the body's history.

Its membership includes representation from two of the country's largest minority groups and three major religions (Catholic, Protestant and Judaism). With the addition of Brown alongside Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett, it will be the first time four women have served together on the nine-member court.

Biden nominated Jackson in February, a month after Breyer, 83, announced he would retire at the end of the court’s term.

The administration said in a statement that Biden "sought a candidate with exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law" to replace Justice Breyer at the time of the selection.

"He also sought a nominee—much like Justice Breyer—who is wise, pragmatic, and has a deep understanding of the Constitution as an enduring charter of liberty," it added. "And the President sought an individual who is committed to equal justice under the law and who understands the profound impact that the Supreme Court’s decisions have on the lives of the American people."

The Senate confirmed Jackson’s nomination in April. The vote was 53-47 in her favor. Every member of the Democrat caucus, along with three Republicans — Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah — voted yes to approve the historic pick.


Official Biography

Ketanji Brown Jackson, Associate Justice,
was born in Washington, D.C., on September 14, 1970. She married Patrick Jackson in 1996, and they have two daughters. She received an A.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1992, and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1996. She served as a law clerk for Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts from 1996 to 1997, Judge Bruce M. Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1997 to 1998, and Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1999 Term. After three years in private practice, she worked as an attorney at the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 2003 to 2005. From 2005 to 2007, she served as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, D.C., and from 2007 to 2010, she was in private practice. She served as a Vice Chair and Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 2010 to 2014. In 2012, President Barack Obama nominated her to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where she served from 2013 to 2021. She was appointed to the Defender Services Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States in 2017, and the Supreme Court Fellows Commission in 2019. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., appointed her to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2021 and then nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 2022. She took her seat on June 30, 2022.

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