Our hearts are full as we celebrate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Today, she has made history as the first Black woman to be confirmed to the US Supreme Court. Her nomination was one of victory brought on determination, as she underwent immense scrutiny from multiple Congress members. Ultimately, glory is hers and we honor all she has accomplished so far.
Judge Jackson was born in 1970 to Johnny and Ellery Brown, both of whom graduated from HBCUs. Fittingly, she was born in Washington D.C. Her family relocated to Miami when Jackson was a child, which is where she remained until she went off to attend Harvard University in Massachusetts. From there she attended Harvard Law. She graduated in 1992 and 1996, respectively.
She served as a law clerk for multiple judges before clerking for justice Stephen Breyer beginning in 1999. Breyer stepped down from the Supreme Court in January 2022 and President Biden nominated Judge Jackson to succeed him.
Judge Jackson married her husband of 25 years, Patrick Jackson in 1996. They have two daughters, Talia and Leila.
In the 2000s, she practiced law for private practices. She later worked as a public defender. In 2009, former President Barack Obama nominated Jackson to be the vice chair of the US Sentencing Commission. She served there for five years.
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Justice Breyer swore her in as a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia in 2013.
Judge Jackson was first nominated to sit on the Supreme Court in 2016. She did not make it to confirmation. But today, the coveted seat with a lifetime appointment is all hers.
Keep scrolling to see Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s journey in photos.
Destined for Greatness
Here, Ketanji is pictured with her mother, former school principal Ellery Brown. Her father, Johnny Brown, practiced law. Her parents have been married for 54 years.
A Popular Student with Sharp Focus
Judge Jackson attended Miami Palmetto Senior High School and graduated in 1988. She was class president. This photo is taken from the school’s 1998 yearbook, where she declared, “I want to go into law and eventually have a judicial appointment.”
From Harvard to the Highest Honor
After high school, Judge Jackson attended both Harvard University and Harvard Law. This is her 1992 yearbook photo.
A Devoted Wife
Judge Jackson and Patrick Jackson were wed in 1996, the same year she graduated from Harvard Law. They have two daughters, Talia and Leila.
Known for Standing Up for What’s Right
The then-recent grad is pictured in 1997 with her former Harvard classmates, Antoinette Coakley, Nina Simmons, and Lisa Fairfax. Judge Jackson’s friends remember her protesting to have a Confederate flag removed from a dorm window during her time in undergrad.
A Worthy Appointee
Supreme Court just Stephen Breyer swears in Judge Jackson to the US District Court judge Jackson in May 2013. They are joined by her husband, Jackson, who is holding the Bible.
Lifting as She Climbs
From 2015 until 2016, Columbia Law professor Kerrel Murray clerked for Judge Jackson. He has described her personality as a “great mix of businesslike and warm.”
An Inspiration to Many
Judge Jackson participated in a reenactment of a landmark Supreme court case in 2019. Here, she is shown talking to a group of students who attended.
A Historic Nomination
In February 2022, President Biden nominated Judge Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court. She then was publicly confirmed by Congress. During the hearings, her daughters looked on with love.
Introducing Justice Jackson
On April 7, Judge Jackson was confirmed to the US Supreme Court. She is the first Black woman to sit on the court.