Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sworn in on Thursday as the Supreme Court’s first Black woman justice, in an historic move for the United States
President Joe Biden’s pick to replace the retiring Stephen Breyer passed the Senate with 53 “yea” votes in April. Three Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — joined with the chamber’s 50 Democrats and independents who typically vote with that party in backing her confirmation, giving the nomination modest bipartisan support.
Breyer, who has served as a Supreme Court justice since 1994, announced earlier this year that he planned to retire at the end of the court’s term. He sent President Biden a letter on Wednesday confirming that his retirement from active service would go into effect at noon ET on Thursday. And he added that Jackson “is prepared to take the prescribed oaths to begin her service as the 116th member of this court.”
The swearing-in ceremony will be streamed live at supremecourt.gov.
Who is Jackson? Here are six quick things to know.
What she’s been doing: Jackson currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to which she was confirmed last June. She’s also been a federal public defender and is a sentencing expert, having served as vice chair and commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, according to her court-issued biography.
Second-youngest justice: The 51-year-old Jackson will be the second-youngest justice on the high court, behind Donald Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett, who is 50.
She’s sided with Trump at least once: Jackson sided with the administration of Biden’s Republican predecessor, concluding, as NPR reports, that the Department of Homeland Security could waive more than two dozen environmental laws to build a segment of Trump’s border wall with Mexico.
But another Jackson ruling was a blow to Trump, as she ruled against his White House’s efforts to block former counsel Don McGahn from testifying in the congressional impeachment probe. “Presidents are not kings,” she wrote.
Related to Paul Ryan by marriage: Jackson is related by marriage to former House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was also a Republican vice-presidential candidate. Her husband’s brother is married to the sister of Ryan’s wife. Ryan said in a February statement that he and his wife Janna are “incredibly happy” for Jackson, and praised her character — in spite of their differing political views.
She clerked for the man she’ll replace: Jackson was once a law clerk for Breyer, who reportedly has described her as “great, brilliant, decent, with a mix of common sense and thoughtfulness.”
Sharing a scene with Matt Damon: While at Harvard University, Jackson reportedly shared a drama-class scene with future Hollywood star Matt Damon. She didn’t end up pursuing the stage or screen, however, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard in 1992 and then from Harvard Law School in 1996.