On Thursday, April 7, Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the first black female Supreme Court judge and the third African-American overall after Thurgood Marshall (1967-1991) and Clarence Thomas (1991-), marking a watershed moment in American history.
The Supreme Court of the United States of America is the country’s highest court. It’s the head of the U.S. federal judiciary.
The 51-year-old lawyer was approved as one of the nine judges on the Supreme Court of the United States by 53 votes to 47 votes. The confirmation period lasted 42 days, one of the quickest in history.
President Joe Biden hailed Judge Jackson’s confirmation as a historic event for the country.
“We have taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America,” Biden said on Twitter. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her,” while posting a selfie with Jackson with the confirmation broadcasting at the bottom.
Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation. We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her. pic.twitter.com/K8SAh25NL5
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 7, 2022
When Jackson takes office, four of the court’s nine judges will be female. Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic on the court, is one of three women on the current court. Elena Kagan and Amy Barrett are the other two.
White men, on the other hand, will no longer make up the majority of the Supreme Court. Four of the five male justices are white, while Thomas is African-American.
Ketanji Brown Jackson will take Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat in the court.
Three Republicans in the Senate backed her up. One of the three Republicans, Lisa Murkowski, declared in a statement that her support was in “rejection of the corrosive politicization of the review process.” Susan Collins, another Republican Jackson supported, agreed with her.
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Ketanji Brown Jackson Profile
Born in Washington, D.C., she grew up in Miami, Florida. Judge Jackson’s parents went to segregated elementary and secondary institutions, as well as historically black colleges and universities. Both began their careers as public school teachers before rising through the ranks of the Miami-Dade Public School System to become leaders and administrators. Judge Jackson’s father went to law school when she was in preschool.
She earned a magna cum laude degree from Harvard University and then went on to Harvard Law School, where she got a cum laude degree and served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
From 2005 to 2007, Judge Jackson worked as a federal public defender, representing defendants on appeal who couldn’t afford a lawyer, one of the aspects criticized by Republicans.
She will be the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court who previously worked as a federal public defender.
Judge Jackson worked on the United States Sentencing Commission before becoming a judge, following in the footsteps of her mentor, Justice Stephen Breyer. Her work there centered on decreasing unjustified sentencing disparities and ensuring just and proportionate federal penalties.
Ketanji Brown Jackson lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Patrick, who is the Chief of the Division of General Surgery at Georgetown University Hospital, and their two kids.
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