With a bipartisan vote of 53-47, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has become the first Black woman to hold a seat on the Supreme Court as confirmed on Thursday (April 7). The official decision was announced by Vice President Kamala Harris and arrives after days of intense interrogation, deliberation, and multiple Senate hearings.
The two-time Harvard grad is also the first public defender to serve on the highest U.S. court. She served as an assistant public defender from 2005 to 2007. The D.C. native also served as district judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021. She was later appointed by President Joe Biden to fill the seat left vacant by Attorney General Merrick Garland in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
President Biden announced his nomination for Jackson on February 25 on Twitter. “I’m proud to announce that I am nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court. She is one of our nation’s brightest legal minds and will be an exceptional Justice,” he wrote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the final vote on Wednesday evening and expressed, “It’s a joyous, momentous, groundbreaking day. Later this afternoon, the Senate will fulfill its constitutional duty to finally confirm this remarkable and groundbreaking jurist […] In the 233-year history of the Supreme Court, never, never has a Black woman held the title of Justice. Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first and I believe the first of more to come.”
Jackson will replace Justice Stephen Breyer upon his retirement this summer. The 51-year-old will serve as an associate justice, a role she’ll be appointed to for life, and will begin hearing cases in October—at the start of the next term.