The United States made history yesterday as Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. The 51-year-old’s appointment by Democratic President Joe Biden means white men are not in the majority on the nation’s highest court for the first time in 233 years. While her confirmation is a milestone, it won’t change the 6-3 conservative majority on the court, which has come under fire for recent rulings broadening the right to bear arms, eviscerating abortion rights and limiting the government’s power to curb greenhouse gases.
“As Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson takes her seat on the Supreme Court, our nation takes an historic step toward realizing our highest ideals,” Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said in a statement. “Amid this court’s cruel assault on Americans’ health, freedom and security, she will be a much needed force for equal justice for all.” Jackson spoke only to say her oaths during yesterday’s brief ceremony. She had picked up support from three Senate Republicans during a gruelling and at times brutal confirmation process, delivering Biden a bipartisan 53-47 approval for his first Supreme Court nominee. Jackson’s swearing-in marks a major moment for Biden, who chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 1980s and 90s, meaning he has the unprecedented distinction of both naming and overseeing the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson signs her oaths of office as her husband Patrick and US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts look on after she took her oath of office at the Supreme Court building in Washington yesterday. (Reuters)