‘An Extraordinary Day’: History Made As Ketanji Brown Jackson Becomes First Black Woman To Be Confirmed To United States Supreme Court

by Duke Magazine

“It’s an extraordinary day,” said Vice President Kamala Harris as she exited the Senate floor, where she presided over Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.

“I believe that putting Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on the highest court of our land today is a very important statement about who we are as a nation.” So let us all rejoice, I believe,” Harris added, according to CNN.

The United States Supreme Court now has a Black female justice for the first time in its 233-year history, according to the Senate’s confirmation of Jackson to the nine-member bench on Thursday. The final vote was 53 to 47, with Jackson receiving backing from all 50 Democratic caucus members. According to NBC News, they were joined by Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah.

Jackson, 51, will take over for Justice Stephen Breyer. After Breyer’s retirement in June, she will be sworn in. According to NBC News, her appointment would not upset the current 6 to 3 conservative balance on the Supreme Court.

“This is a beautiful day, a joyful day, an inspirational day for the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the United States of America,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “This is a watershed moment in American history.”


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During a news appearance in Delaware in June 2020, US President Joe Biden stated that if given the opportunity, he would like to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court. He stated in January of this year that he intends to keep his pledge. Jackson’s appointment now brings that promise to fruition.

Jackson is a member of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Her parents, both graduates of historically black colleges, raised her in Miami after she was born in Washington, DC. Jackson earned two degrees from Harvard University, one as an undergraduate and one as a law student, and she previously served as editor of the Harvard Law Review.

According to the BBC, while at Harvard, she spearheaded protests against a student who hung a Confederate flag from his dorm window.

Jackson was only recently promoted to her current job. Before this, she served as a district judge in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021. After Merrick Garland was confirmed as Attorney General, Biden nominated her to fill Garland’s seat on the D.C. Circuit. Jackson has previously clerked for three federal judges, including Breyer from 1999 to 2000.

During the House impeachment investigation, Jackson ruled over the Trump Justice Department’s attempt to block former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying before Congress. Jackson is married to a surgeon and has two children.

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