Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court in a 53-47 vote, with all but three Republicans opposing the appointment of the first African-American justice on the nation’s top court.
Jackson’s appointment makes history as the first Black woman and the first public defender to serve on the Supreme Court, who will replace Justice Stephen Breyer when his retirement becomes official this summer at the end of the term.
The confirmation is a big victory for President Joe Biden, who watched the Senate vote on her nomination to the Supreme Court with Jackson in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
Jackson was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Miami, Florida.
Her parents attended segregated primary schools, then attended historically black colleges and universities. Both started their careers as public school teachers and became leaders and administrators in the Miami-Dade Public School System.
When Jackson was in preschool, her father attended law school.
In a 2017 lecture, Jackson traced her love of the law back to sitting next to her father in their apartment as he tackled his law school homework—reading cases and preparing for Socratic questioning—while she undertook her preschool homework—coloring books.
Jackson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, then attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
“This is one of the great moments of American history,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote. “Today we are taking a giant, bold and important step on the well-trodden path to fulfilling our country’s founding promise. This is a great moment for Judge Jackson but it is an even greater moment for America as we rise to a more perfect union.”
President Biden called the vote a “historic moment” for the nation.
“We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America,” Biden posted on Twitter with an image of him taking a selfie with Jackson.