Jackson, a former public defender and federal appeals court judge, was sworn in during a small ceremony shortly after Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement became official. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath and Breyer administered the judicial oath.
Jackson’s husband, Dr. Patrick Jackson, their two daughters and the other justices on the Supreme Court were in attendance, as well as retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who stepped down from the court in 2018.
After the ceremony, Jackson said in a statement, “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. 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.”
She also singled out Breyer, who hired her as a clerk in 1999, calling him a “personal friend and mentor of mine.”
Breyer said Jackson’s “hard work, integrity, and intelligence have earned her a place on this Court.”
“I am glad for my fellow Justices,” he added. “They gain a colleague who is empathetic, thoughtful, and collegial. I am glad for America. Ketanji will interpret the law wisely and fairly, helping that law to work better for the American people, whom it serves.”
Roberts said a formal investiture ceremony will be held for Jackson in the fall, but her swearing-in Thursday enables her to get to work on the court in the meantime.
Jackson’s nomination was confirmed by the Senate in a 53-47 vote in April. Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black American and first person of South Asian descent to be elected to her role, presided over the vote.