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Ketanji Brown Jackson Sworn In As Supreme Court Justice In Historic Ceremony

Ketanji Brown Jackson has been sworn in as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, marking the first time in American history that a Black woman has sat on the nation’s highest judicial body.

Stephen Breyer, who retired as a justice minutes before the swearing-in ceremony, and Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oaths to President Joe Biden’s 51-year-old nominee.

Thursday marks the first time in history that four women have been on the Supreme Court together. Jackson joins Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, two liberals nominated by President Barack Obama, and conservative Amy Coney Barrett, a Donald Trump nominee. This also marks the first time that white men do not make up a majority of justices.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson's swearing-in marks several historic firsts.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s swearing-in marks several historic firsts.
Associated Press

“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” Jackson said after Congress confirmed her appointment in April. “But we’ve made it. We’ve made it. All of us.”

She is also the first former public defender on the nation’s highest court.

Jackson joins a Supreme Court embroiled in turmoil. Last week, its six conservative members upended abortion rights for millions of people by overturning Roe v. Wade, even though several of them previously acknowledged the 1973 case was settled precedent. Justice Clarence Thomas said in his concurring opinion last week that this paves the way for the court to overturn its past rulings protecting birth control access and same-sex marriage as well.

Public opinion of the court is at a record low, according to a Gallup poll conducted in June. Only a quarter of Americans reported having confidence in the court, down 11 percentage points from last year, the survey found.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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