Lawmakers, Celebrities React After Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson's Historic Swearing-In

On Thursday, Jackson became the 116th associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and the first Black female justice to sit on the court

Lawmakers and celebrities alike are reacting to the historic swearing-in of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who on Thursday became the 116th associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and the first Black female justice to sit on the court.

Jackson, 51, was nominated to the court by President Joe Biden on Feb. 25 after Justice Stephen Breyer announced his plans to retire at the end of the term. She was confirmed by the Senate in a 53-47 vote on April 7.

Taking to Twitter, actress Kerry Washington called Jackson's confirmation to the court "the news we needed this week," adding that she was "grateful" for the new justice.

LeVar Burton echoed the sentiment, writing, "At last, a jurist on the SCOTUS worthy of the legacy of, Justice Thurgood Marshall!"

In this image from video provided by the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts administers the Constitutional Oath to Ketanji Brown Jackson as her husband Patrick Jackson holds the Bible at the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, June 30, 2022.
Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn into the Supreme Court. Supreme Court via AP

Valerie Jarrett, who worked as senior advisor to President Barack Obama, said Jackson's ceremony came "at a time of great anxiety and pain in our country," a reference to the Supreme Court's recent ruling overturning the landmark abortion-rights case Roe v. Wade.

In a tweet, Jarrett added, "today is an extraordinary moment where Justice #KetanjiBrownJackson's swearing in shines a bright light of hope for the future.

NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson also lauded Jackson, writing in a tweet: "Not only do we finally have a Black woman on the Supreme Court, but a highly qualified professional who will represent Black women, and all Americans, well."

In her tweet to mark the historic occasion, Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote that she was "thrilled to see Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn in today as the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court!"

"As a former public defender, she'll bring an invaluable perspective to the bench. I also want to thank Justice Breyer for his extraordinary public service," she added.

As Warren noted, Jackson took the seat vacated by liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who retired from the bench prior to the new justice's swearing-in.

In his own statement, Breyer extended his congratulations to his replacement.

"I am glad today for Ketanji. Her hard work, integrity, and intelligence have earned her a place on this court. I am glad for my fellow justices. They gain a colleague who is empathetic, thoughtful, and collegial. I am glad for America," Breyer said, as reported by CBS News. "Ketanji will interpret the law wisely and fairly, helping that law to work better for the American people, whom it serves."

With Jackson's appointment, Biden, 79, kept his 2020 campaign promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court.

Jackson's notable legal career prepares her for the high honor and intense undertaking. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University, and later cum laude from Harvard Law School, Jackson was nominated by former President Barack Obama to sit on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2012. She was confirmed in 2013 and served until 2021.

In a statement distributed following her swearing-in, Jackson offered her thanks to her new colleagues for their welcome.

"With a full heart, I accept the solemn responsibility of supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States and administering justice without fear or favor, so help me God," she said in her statement. "I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great nation. I extend my sincerest thanks to all of my new colleagues for their warm and gracious welcome."

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