Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in to the US Supreme Court on Thursday, making history as the first black woman to serve on the high court.
Jackson, 51, was sworn in hours after the court issued its final two opinions for the term.
Justice Stephen Breyer notified the White House on Wednesday that his retirement would be effective Thursday at noon, writing in a letter to President that it has been his ‘great honor’ to sit on the court.
Jackson, Breyer’s replacement, took the oaths moments after Breyer’s retirement became official. She has become the 116th member of the court.
Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath to Jackson, and Breyer administered the judicial oath.
On his last day, Breyer said Jackson, a former public defender and federal appeals court judge, was prepared to ‘take the prescribed oaths.’
In a statement, Jackson said: ‘I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great Nation. I extend my sincerest thanks to all of my new colleagues for their warm and gracious welcome.’
‘I am also especially grateful for the time and attention given to me by the Chief Justice and by Justice Breyer. Justice Breyer has been a personal friend and mentor of mine for the past two decades, in addition to being part of today’s official act,’ she said.
Following the ceremony, Breyer said in a statement that he was ‘glad for America’ that Jackson would be serving.
‘I am glad today for Ketanji. Her hard work, integrity, and intelligence have earned her a place on this Court. I am glad for my fellow Justices. They gain a colleague who is empathetic, thoughtful, and collegial. I am glad for America.’
‘Ketanji will interpret the law wisely and fairly, helping that law to work better for the American people, whom it serves.’
Biden nominated Jackson as Breyer’s replacement in February, fulfilling a campaign promise to pick a black woman for the role if given the opportunity.
Jackson’s nomination was confirmed by the Senate in a bipartisan 53-47 vote back in April. Vice President Kamala Harris, the first black woman elected to her role, had presided over the historic vote.
‘For too long our government, our courts, haven’t looked like America,’ Biden said when he nominated Jackson. ‘I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation.’
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