Ketanji Brown Jackson officially joined the Supreme Court on Thursday, making history as the first black woman — and first Floridian — to rise to the top of the nation’s bench.
Jackson, who graduated from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 1988, was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts and retired Justice Stephen Breyer, whom Jackson replaces.
Breyer announced earlier this year that he would retire at the end of the Supreme Court’s current term, which was on Thursday.
“On behalf of all members of the court, I am pleased to welcome Judge Jackson to the court and to our joint appeal,” Roberts said at the end of the brief ceremony, which took place inside the Supreme Court.
Jackson’s family, including her husband and two daughters, were in attendance.
Jackson, nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the Senate in April, joins the Supreme Court at a tumultuous time, less than a week after revoking the constitutional right to abortion and sparking a national debate on rights and women’s health.
The move came amid a broader set of recent rulings that have pleased conservatives and furious liberals, including one released Thursday morning that limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate gases to greenhouse effect.
Although historic, Jackson’s nomination does not change the ideological makeup of the court, where the conservatives hold a 6-3 advantage.
READ MORE: Ketanji Brown Jackson’s background is unusual for a Supreme Court nominee. This is Miami
Yet Jackson, 51, becomes only the eighth non-white man to join the nation’s highest court. During her testimony before the Senate earlier this year, she regularly cited her family history in South Florida and the opportunities she received there that her grandparents and parents did not have. never done.
Jackson’s parents, she testified, were forced to attend racially segregated schools in Miami.
“My reality, when I was born in 1970 and going to school in Miami, Florida, was completely different,” Jackson said during a Senate confirmation hearing in March. “I went to a diverse public middle school, high school, and elementary school. And the fact that we’ve come this far was a testament to me of the hope and the promise of this country, of the greatness of America, that in one generation – one generation – we could go from schools to racial segregation in Florida for having me sit here as the first Floridian to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Her father, Johnny Brown, served as chief attorney for the Miami-Dade School Board, while her mother, Ellery Brown, served as principal of the New World School of the Arts in Miami.
The Senate confirmed Jackson by a vote of 53 to 47, with three Republicans joining 48 Democrats and two independents supporting his nomination. Jackson, who was born in Washington, DC, before growing up in the southern suburb of Miami-Dade, is Biden’s first Supreme Court nomination.
This story was originally published June 30, 2022 10:08 a.m.