On Thursday, June 30th, Ketanji Brown Jackson was the first black woman to be sworn into the Supreme Court. With history in the making, four women now serve on the Supreme Court for the first time. Biden chose Jackson, 51, to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, 81, after plans of retirement. While the replacement will not sway the political stance of the majority on the Supreme Court, representation and age are factors to consider.
Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Miami, Florida. The daughter of two teachers and administrators, she began to find passion in law, as she often watched her father in his studies during law school. Despite discouragement in high school, she graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, along with being editor of Harvard Law Review.
The ceremony took place around noon on June 30th, with Jackson taking two oaths. The first was a constitutional oath and the second a judicial oath. Meanwhile, her husband and daughters were present, supportive and proud as she was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Stephen Breyer.
The Senate voted 53 to 47 on her nomination in April. While all of the democrat Senators voted in favor of Jackson, only three republican Senators joined. The remaining republican Senators focused on her eight years as a trial judge, and eight months on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, leading to various criticism such as her lower than recommended sentence times for child pornography offenders. However, with the rise of the Internet, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has widespread agreement that the guidelines are outdated.
Nonetheless, with Jackson’s family of law enforcement officers, as well as her brother serving in the U.S Army in Iraq and Egypt, Jackson has the potential to find common ground for both political parties.
Looking forward, Jackson has significant cases coming up, as she joins the two other liberal justices, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. With the decisions of religious freedom and the independent legislative theory, Jackson will be a vital pull in the Supreme Court’s final decisions.