Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed as First Black Woman to Sit on Supreme Court

FILE - Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee March 21, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

By Ashley Adams

April 7, 2022

In a bipartisan vote, the US Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the US Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman to ever serve as justice, only the third Black justice, and the sixth woman.

History was made today, as Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed by the US Senate as the next US Supreme Court justice.

The Senate erupted into applause after Vice President Kamala Harris read the final vote tally of 53-47.

Jackson is the first Black woman to sit on the high court, only the third Black justice, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, and the sixth woman. She joins two other women, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, on the liberal side of a 6-3 conservative court. With Justice Amy Coney Barrett sitting at the other end of the bench, four of the nine justices would be women for the first time in history.

Jackson replaces Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, who is retiring at the end of the term this summer.

Jackson, 51, worked as one of Breyer’s law clerks early in her legal career. She attended Harvard as an undergraduate and for law school, and served on the US Sentencing Commission before she became a federal judge in 2013.

Although it was far from an overwhelming bipartisan confirmation, the final vote is still a significant bipartisan accomplishment for President Joe Biden in the narrow 50-50 Senate after GOP senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee aggressively questioned Jackson during her confirmation hearing. Pennsylvania’s senators voted along party lines, with Sen. Bob Casey voting to confirm and Sen. Pat Toomey voting no.

Jackson said her life was shaped by her parents’ experiences with racial segregation and civil rights laws that were enacted a decade before she was born.

“I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously,” Jackson said during the hearing. “I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath.”

Once sworn in, Jackson would be the second youngest member of the court after Barrett, who is 50.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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