Mar 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ketanji Brown Jackson recognizes "historic" moment

Photo of Ketanji Brown Jackson in a purple suit speaking into a mic

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson gives an opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a confirmation hearing on her nomination to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice on March 21. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in Monday for the first of four days of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: Jackson would become the first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice if she is confirmed.

What she's saying: In her opening statement, Jackson spoke about her background as the daughter of two public school teachers and the many people she encountered on her way to becoming a judge.

  • Jackson, who clerked for and would replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on the court, said he "exemplified what it means to be a Supreme Court justice of the highest level of skill and integrity, civility and grace."
  • "I know that I could never fill his shoes. But if confirmed, I would hope to carry on his spirit."
  • "I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously," she said. "I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath."
  • She also noted that "I stand on the shoulders of so many who have come before me, including Judge Constance Baker Motley, who was the first African American woman to be appointed to the federal bench and with whom I share a birthday."
  • "And like Judge Motley, I have dedicated my career to ensuring that the words engraved on the front of the Supreme Court building — 'Equal justice under law' — are a reality and not just an ideal."
  • "Thank you for this historic chance to join the highest court, to work with brilliant colleagues, to inspire future generations, and to ensure liberty and justice for all," she said.

Worth noting: Jackson's confirmation is likely to come down to a close vote, NPR reports with most Senate Republicans saying they will vote in opposition.

Go deeper: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's historic SCOTUS hearing

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