Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson will join a Supreme Court that is both more diverse than ever and more conservative than it has been since the 1930s.
She is likely to lose in a slew of important cases, including reviews of the role of race in college admissions and voting rights that the High Court, with its 6-3 Tory majority, will take over the next term.
Jackson, 51, is the first black woman confirmed to the Supreme Court after Thursday’s 53-47 vote by the Senate. She will not join the court for several months, until Judge Stephen Breyer retires once the court has completed its work for the summer – including its verdict on whether to overturn the landmark decision Roe v. Wade on abortion rights.
When Jackson first takes office as a judge in October, she will be one of four women and two black judges – the first two on the high court.
And the nine-member tribunal as a whole will be younger than it has been in nearly 30 years when Breyer, now 83, came on board.
On Friday, a memorial ceremony will be held at the White House to celebrate Jackson’s confirmation, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will travel to Washington DC in person to witness the historic event.
“As a black lawyer myself, I am beaming with pride and adding my voice to the chorus of well-wishers who congratulate Judge Jackson on making history today. She is perhaps the first, but she certainly won’t be the last. She will continue to inspire many others like her to follow in her footsteps,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
Here’s what other local leaders are saying about Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation
From the Illinois Black Legislative Caucus:
“Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is one of the most impressive, qualified and impartial Supreme Court justices ever confirmed. His dedication to economic justice, civil rights, access to reproductive health care and other pressing issues demonstrates his broad expertise and commitment to justice under the law. As the first black female justice on the Supreme Court, Justice Jackson will defend the rights of all Americans, regardless of race or origin, and work toward a fairer system for generations to come.
We are thrilled to see how Justice Jackson uses her integrity, character and expert legal knowledge to positively impact our country and inspire the next generation of black leaders. We stand with Judge Jackson in our dedication to public service and justice, and celebrate this monumental day in our history.
From MP Jan Schakowski:
“Today, the Senate confirmed by a bipartisan vote of 53 to 47 a highly skilled jurist, former public defender and first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson brings hope to so many of us and her confirmation reflects what makes this nation great.During her confirmation hearings, we heard the story of a daughter born to public school teachers who was taught that despite many obstacles she would face, that in America, if she worked hard and believed in herself, she could do anything and be anything she wanted. Judge Jackson did just that, and she did it with skill, integrity, and compassion. She is living proof for black girls in America that the sky is the limit.
“Judge Jackson also represents a beacon of hope for our country’s most vulnerable. She will be the first judge with experience as a federal public defender. I am thrilled that we finally have someone in our highest court who understands what the criminal justice system looks like to poor defendants and who has witnessed the injustice and obstacles within it His experience as a public defender is inextricably linked to the fight for racial justice and that experience now proves invaluable as she begins her journey to the Supreme Court.
“I look forward to seeing her continue her quest to make the words carved into the facade of the Supreme Court building – ‘Equal Justice Under the Law’ – a reality.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.