On Thursday, a short while after noon, Ketanji Brown Jackson created history as she was sworn in as the 116th Supreme Court Justice. She is the first Black Supreme Court Justice. Justice Stephen Breyer, 83 has retired, on Thursday, and she is filling in his position. The brief ceremony included two oaths. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath while Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she is replacing in the highest court, administered the judicial oath.
Dr. Patrick Jackson, her husband held two Bibles. One Bible belonged to their family while the other was the Harlan Bible. This King James Bible was donated to the Supreme Court, in 1906. Justice Jackson was smiling widely after she had repeated the oaths. All the others Justices applauded after she was welcomed by the Chief Justice on behalf of all of them. Her daughters Talia, 21 as well as Leila, 17 were also present at the brief ceremony.
Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said in a written statement that she accepted her responsibilities and was grateful to serve the nation. She thanked her new colleagues and specifically mentioned her gratitude to Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Breyer, who has also been her mentor and boss, as she clerked for him, earlier in her career.
The Chief Justice also mentioned that there would be a formal investiture ceremony this fall but Thursday’s oath would let Justice Jackson undertake duties which wanted to start on, “without any further delay.”
Early this year, President Joe Biden had announced that Justice Stephen Breyer would retire at the end of the term. He had served 27 years on the court. Biden fulfilled a campaign promise of nominating a Black woman to the highest court.
Despite it being a milestone moment in the history of the nation, only three Republican senators voted in her favor. All the 50 Democrats in the Senate and Senate Republicans including Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted 53-47 to nominate her.