Amid a tumultuous term, the Supreme Court again made history on June 30. In an inspirational moment, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the first black woman to sit on America’s highest court. She joined the other eight justices immediately after Stephen Breyer’s retirement at noon on Thursday. According to Forbes, Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath while Breyer, who has served on the Court for over 25 years, carried out the second oath, officially swearing Jackson in.
It was a modest event that took place at the Supreme Court. Roberts did announce a formal investiture ceremony for the newest justice would be held this fall. As Jackson has been sworn in, she can currently begin her duties. She thanked her peers for their warm welcome, and to Breyer, Jackson expressed gratitude for his “time and attention.” In a statement released on Thursday, the outgoing justice described Jackson as well-suited to sit on SCOTUS and was confident she would “be mindful in promoting the law.”
Ketanji Brown Jackson isn’t just the first Black woman to serve on the Court, but she is also the institution’s first former public defender. Her freshman term will feature major cases focusing on religious liberty, LGBTQ discrimination, affirmative action in college admissions, voting rights, and redistricting maps for state congressional elections. Jackson will recuse herself from the college case as she is an alumnus of Harvard University, one of the schools being sued.
She will make decisions for the other high-stakes cases during the upcoming term. The battles over state legislature doctrines will be closely watched as it addresses congressional maps, including a case pertaining to the crucial swing state of North Carolina. Depending on the rulings, states might have the power to overturn election results which critics deem a threat to democracy.