Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn in as 1st Black woman to serve on Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson
(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

History has been made, as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is officially the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Jackson was sworn in Thursday as an associate justice of the Supreme Court with her husband and daughters in attendance. She took two oaths, a constitutional oath and a statutory oath, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Stephen Breyer, respectively.

"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.

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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement earlier this year, leading Biden to nominate Jackson to fill his seat. The president previously promised he would nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, saying it's "long overdue." The Senate confirmed Jackson, who served as a law clerk for Breyer, in a 53-47 vote in April.

"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, but we've made it," Jackson said in April. "We've made it, all of us."

Roberts explained a formal investiture will take place in the fall, but Thursday's swearing-in will allow Jackson to begin her duties immediately, "and she's been anxious to get to them without any further delay." As he officially retires, Breyer said Wednesday it "has been my great honor to participate as a judge in the effort to maintain our constitution and the rule of law."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.