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Ketanji Brown Jackson is officially the newest Supreme Court justice, taking her oaths at a swearing in ceremony Thursday.
Justice Jackson is now the first Black woman on the high court.
Jackson was sworn in a few minutes after noon, which was when the retirement of her predecessor, Justice Stephen Breyer, became effective. Breyer himself helped lead the ceremony, which took place in the Court’s West Conference Room. Breyer administered the judicial oath, and Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath, both of which are required for all justices. Jackson’s husband Patrick Jackson and their two daughters were in attendance.
“Now, on behalf of all the members of the Court, I’m pleased to welcome Justice Jackson to the Court and to our common calling,” Roberts said upon completion of the ceremony. Roberts announced that a formal investiture ceremony – a customary special sitting of the Supreme Court – will occur in the fall.
President Biden nominated Jackson to be Breyer’s replacement after the outgoing justice declared in January that he intended to retire from active service upon the end of the Court’s term. That term came to a close less than two hours before his retirement became official and Jackson was sworn in, when the Court released its last two opinions of the term – West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency and Biden v. Texas.
The selection of Jackson fulfilled Biden’s promise to choose a Black woman. The president decided on Jackson in late February, and the Senate confirmed her in early April with a vote of 53-47.
Jackson, who previously served on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is now one of four women on the Supreme Court – the most at one time in history. She joins Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Amy Coney Barrett.
The only two other women to serve on the Supreme Court are Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and served until 2006, and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who joined the Court after her nomination by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and served until her death in 2020.