Jurist makes history as first Black woman on highest court in United States

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By Abdulafeez Olaitan

A jurist has made history in the United States, becoming the first Black woman on the highest court in the nation.

Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as associate justice to the United States Supreme Court following Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement.

President of the United States Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Jackson for the position in February. This was in a bid to fulfill a campaign promise to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

In her remarks at a White House event the day after the Senate vote, Jackson said “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, but we’ve made it! We’ve made it — all of us.” 

“I have dedicated my career to public service because I love this country and our Constitution and the rights that make us free,” added Jackson.

It was anticipated that Jackson would replace 83-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer when he stepped down. The former served the latter in a clerkship position during her study at Harvard Law School in 1996.

Breyer’s retirement has been made effective following Jackson’s swearing-in.

During the live streamed event, Jackson took two oaths: A constitutional oath, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, and a judicial oath, administered by Breyer.

The vote which was in favour of Jackson’s confirmation was lauded as a “historic moment” by Democrats.

Jackson is the first Supreme Court justice since Thurgood Marshall to have represented indigent criminal defendants as a public defender.

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