With “aye” votes from 53 U.S. senators, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was officially confirmed as the nation’s 116th — and Black Womanhood’s first — Supreme Court Justice. The historic April 7 vote, presided over by Vice President Kamala Harris, fell largely along party lines, with three Republicans (Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski) joining all 50 Democrats. Inspired by the moment, Harris gave sheets of her vice presidential stationery to Sens. Cory Booker and Raphael Warnock, and encouraged them to write notes to someone who would appreciate it. Warnock penned a note to his daughter on the gifted paper.
“Bringing the gifts my ancestors gave”
The day after the Senate’s historic vote, Judge Brown Jackson appeared at the White House alongside President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, where she delivered a speech laden with gratitude for all who helped her on her journey to a seat on the high court. She credited “the true pathbreakers” who made her rise to the Supreme Court possible: Martin Luther King, Jr., the court’s first Black justice Thurgood Marshall, and her personal hero Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court, who went on to become the nation’s first Black woman federal judge. “I am just the very lucky inheritor of the dream of liberty and justice for all,” Brown Jackson said. Citing Maya Angelou’s poem, Brown Jackson said she is going into her new role “bringing the gifts my ancestors gave. I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”
In case you missed it, you can watch the whole ceremony here!
“Justice” delayed, but not denied
We know y’all are very excited about our sister justice, but don’t roll up on the Supreme Court looking for her just yet. For the next few months, Brown Jackson is a justice-in-waiting, because her predecessor, Justice Stephen Breyer, isin’t retiring until some time this summer. In the interim, Brown Jackson is barred from continuing in her current role on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. However, she can fill her time by studying cases that are coming up before the Supreme Court next term.
Before we go …
We thought we’d send you off with a sampling of the Black Girl joy out there for Ketanji Brown Jackson, courtesy of the effervescent Jenifer Lewis and Erika Alexander, also known as Living Single’s Maxine Shaw, attorney at law!