Ketanji Brown Jackson will soon start a new job on the U.S. Supreme Court—and will make history in the process. Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, which was founded in 1789.
The Supreme Court is made up of nine judges, called justices. They decide whether laws meet the rules set by the U.S. Constitution. The Court’s rulings can affect the entire country.
When a justice dies or retires, the president nominates someone to fill the position. On February 25, President Joe Biden selected Jackson to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who will retire this summer.
To become a justice, the nominee has to be confirmed, or officially approved, by the U.S. Senate. That process began in March, at hearings held by a committee of senators. They asked Jackson about her qualifications for the job. The full Senate voted on April 7 and approved Jackson’s nomination by a vote of 53 to 47.
Jackson grew up in Miami, Florida. Her parents were both teachers. When Jackson was in preschool, her father decided to go to law school, which inspired her to do the same.
Since 2013, Jackson has served as a federal judge in Washington, D.C. Before that, she was a public defender, representing people who needed a lawyer but couldn’t afford one.
Supreme Court justices can serve for life, so Jackson could influence the court’s decisions for many years to come.
“I am humbled and honored to continue in this fashion as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, working with brilliant colleagues, supporting and defending the Constitution,” Jackson said after her appointment.