Today (June 30) at noon, Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jackson was nominated after Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement earlier this year. Jackson once clerked for Breyer. His retirement will also be effective today.
“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we’ve made it! We’ve made it — all of us,” Jackson said in remarks at a White House event the day after the Senate vote, per NPR.
She added, “I have dedicated my career to public service because I love this country and our Constitution and the rights that make us free.”
The 51-year-old newly minted Justice has been confirmed since April she was confirmed by a vote of 53 to 47 with all Senate Democrats and Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
The confirmation featured many contentious moments as Republicans accused Jackson of being “soft on crime” due to past judicial decisions particularly those related to child pornography.
Jackson spent eight years as a federal trial court judge and was confirmed last June for a seat on the elite U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia after also being nominated for that post by President Joe Biden.
Her Supreme Court nomination fulfilled a campaign promise from the president who vowed to put a Black woman on the high court.
Per NPR, Jackson is the first Supreme Court justice since Thurgood Marshall to have represented indigent criminal defendants as a public defender.
Jackson’s presence on the court does not change the balance of the court which has 6 conservative justices and 3 liberals. The Court has recently made several conservative rulings including overturning Roe v. Wade and expanding the Second Amendment.