WASHINGTON — Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in Thursday as an associate justice of the Supreme Court following the retirement of longtime Justice Stephen Breyer, making her the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Update 12:08 p.m. June 30: Jackson took a constitutional oath administered by Chief Justice John Roberts and a judicial oath administered by Breyer.
A formal investiture ceremony is scheduled to take place in the fall, Roberts said.
Original report: President Joe Biden nominated Jackson, 51, to fill Breyer’s seat after the justice announced in January that he planned to retire after nearly three decades on the Supreme Court. In April, the Senate voted 53-47 to confirm Jackson’s nomination.
Jackson will become the sixth woman to serve on the Supreme Court, joining current justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett. It will be the first time that four women are serving simultaneously on the nation’s highest court. She will also become the third Black justice to sit on the court after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas.
At Thursday’s ceremony, scheduled to begin at noon, Jackson will take a pair of oaths: a constitutional oath administered by Chief Justice John Roberts and a judicial oath administered by Breyer.
Jackson has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since 2021 following eight years as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
“I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously,” she said during her confirmation hearing earlier this year. “I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath.
She earlier served as a federal public defender, a role no other Supreme Court justice in history has held.
Breyer, 83, has served on the Supreme Court since being appointed to his seat by then-President Bill Clinton in 1994. The 83-year-old confirmed Wednesday that he would step down after the court issued its final opinions of the term on Thursday.
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