Supreme Court investiture marks another historic first for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
The investiture ceremony for Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman on the bench, will be marked by pomp from the ages, including the use of Chief Justice John Marshall’s historic bench chair and commission language that dates to the first justice, John Jay, appointed by President George Washington.
Per custom, Jackson will be accompanied by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Jackson is the sixth woman on the bench; three of the others are still serving: Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett.
The symbolic moment comes as Biden, who vowed during his 2020 campaign to appoint the first Black woman justice, continues to emphasize diversity in his judicial picks.
Jackson, 52, who previously sat on US district and appellate courts, took her official Supreme Court oaths at the end of June when Justice Stephen Breyer retired.
Another asterisk to the Kavanaugh ceremony: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s black leather chair at the bench was empty.
The new justice’s husband, Patrick Jackson, a surgeon, will be in the courtroom, along with their daughters Leila and Talia.
Making historyThe first justice to be seated, for investiture purposes, in the chair of Chief Justice Marshall (who served 1801-1835) was Lewis Powell in January 1972.
And within a decade, O’Connor, a lawyer, state senator and then state court judge, sat in the John Marshall chair.
President Ronald Reagan appointed her in 1981, making O’Connor the nation’s first woman justice.
Now Jackson will be the first African American woman to rule on high court cases.
But back in 1981, when Burger descended the steps with O’Connor, the chief justice quipped to photographers, “You’ve never seen me with a better-looking justice, have you?”If Burger’s remark put off O’Connor, the first woman justice didn’t let it show.