By Biodun Busari
The United States will make another historic event today as Ketanji Brown Jackson is set to be sworn in as the first Black woman as the 116th Supreme Court justice and the first Black woman to serve on the high court.
US President Joe Biden nominated Jackson in February fulfilling a campaign promise to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court and the 51-year-old will be sworn in on Thursday at 12 noon.
“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.
“I have dedicated my career to public service because I love this country and our Constitution and the rights that make us free,” Jackson also said.
Jackson has been confirmed since April, when the Senate voted 53 to 47 on her nomination. It was anticipated she would replace 83-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer — whom she served as an assistant shed graduated from Harvard Law School in 1996 — when he stepped down.
Breyer’s retirement will be effective today.
Reports say Jackson will take two oaths during the livestreamed event: a constitutional oath, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, and a judicial oath, administered by Breyer.
All 50 Senate Democrats, including the two independents and three Republicans — Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — voted in favor of Jackson’s confirmation. The vote was lauded as a “historic moment” by Democrats, though the confirmation process was filled with clashes between the parties over Jackson’s past judicial decisions.
Jackson served eight years as a federal trial court judge and was confirmed, in June 2021, for a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia after also being nominated for that post by Biden.
Jackson is the first Supreme Court justice since Thurgood Marshall to have represented indigent criminal defendants as a public defender.