It's Official: Ketanji Brown Jackson Is Confirmed to the Supreme Court

Update, June 30, 2022: Almost three months after her confirmation, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the 116th Supreme Court justice on Thursday, following Justice Stephen Breyer's announcement of his retirement date. Jackson stood in front of her husband and two daughters as she took two oaths from Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Breyer. Though a formal ceremony is to come in the fall, Jackson will immediately undertake her duties.

Update, April 7, 2022: Ketanji Brown Jackson was officially confirmed to the Supreme Court on April 7. After tense hearings that spanned four days, the Senate confirmed the historic appointment, ushering in the nation's first Black woman justice. The final vote was 53-47, with three Republican senators — Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney — breaking from the party line.

Jackson watched the vote take place in the Roosevelt Room of the White House with President Joe Biden and members of his staff. "Judge Jackson's confirmation was a historic moment for our nation. We've taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America," Biden tweeted. "She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her."

Jackson's first official portrait was shot by photographer Lelanie Foster on April 8. That same day, Jackson delivered a speech on the South Lawn of the White House. She thanked those who have helped her on her tremendous professional journey, including her mentors, family, the current president and vice president, as well as former president Barack Obama. "It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States," she said. "But we've made it. We've made it. All of us."

Lelanie Foster

Original story: Joe Biden has shared his historic pick for the Supreme Court. On Feb. 25, the president announced Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee: "she is one of our nation's brightest legal minds and will be an exceptional Justice." If confirmed, the accomplished 51-year-old judge will make history as the first Black woman to serve as justice.

The news comes just one month after Justice Stephen Breyer shared his plans to retire after nearly 28 years. Following the announcement, Biden pledged: "I've made no decision except one: the person I will nominate will be someone of extraordinary qualifications, character, experience, and integrity, and that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court." He added, "I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment."

The appointment would mark a full-circle moment for Jackson, who was born in Washington DC, although she mostly grew up in Miami. Jackson attended Harvard University as an undergraduate and law school student. During that time, she helped organize demonstrations in response to a classmate who had draped a Confederate battle flag outside his window at the center of campus. Jackson also served as the Harvard Law Review's supervising editor, and she graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1996, four years after graduating from the university magna cum laude.

In recent years, Jackson was appointed by former President Barack Obama to the federal district court in DC, where she served for over eight years. In 2021, Biden appointed her to serve as a circuit judge for the DC federal appeals court. In addition, Jackson is a member of Harvard's Board of Overseers and a council member for the American Law Institute.

Jackson would be joining a more conservative Supreme Court, as there are currently six sitting justices appointed by Republican presidents. In his one term, former President Donald Trump appointed three justices, including especially controversial picks Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. The two justices previously appointed by Democratic presidents are Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.