Ketanji Brown Jackson has made history in the United States, becoming the first Black woman sworn in as a Supreme Court justice.
Brown Jackson was sworn into the position on Thursday, a matter of days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, stripping abortion rights from millions of Americans.
While her confirmation is an important milestone for the representation of Black women on the court, it won’t change the 6-3 conservative majority. Brown Jackson is a liberal justice, replacing Justice Stephen Breyer, also a liberal.
Nevertheless, Democratic party leaders are claiming Brown Jackson’s swearing in as an important step forward for the court, and the United States.
“As Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson takes her seat on the Supreme Court, our nation takes an historic step toward realizing our highest ideals,” speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said on Twitter.
“Amid this Court’s cruel assault on Americans’ health, freedom and security, she will be a much needed force for equal justice for all.”
President Joe Biden, who appointed Brown Jackson to the court, also posted his congratulations.
“As I said the day she was confirmed: You’d be hard-pressed to find someone better qualified for the job. Congratulations, Justice Jackson,” Biden said on Twitter.
In a statement, Biden said: “Her historic swearing in today represents a profound step forward for our nation, for all the young, Black girls who now see themselves reflected on our highest court, and for all of us as Americans.”
“The Supreme Court just gained a colleague with a world-class intellect, the dignified temperament the American people expect of a justice, and the strongest credentials imaginable.
“Justice Jackson’s wisdom and experience, will make all of us proud for so many years to come.”
Brown Jackson’s appointment comes after a tumultuous couple of weeks in America, that has seen the Supreme Court eviscerate abortion rights, expand gun rights and return Christian prayer to public schools. Overnight, it ruled in favour of a lawsuit brought by conservative states against the Environmental Protection Agency – essentially stripping power from the agency to ensure states phase out fossil fuel power plants.
This decision will have a direct impact on Joe Biden’s ability to pursue his plans to act on climate change – a promise he took to the election. He called it “another devastating decision that aims to take our country backwards”.
“I have directed my legal team to work with the Department of Justice and affected agencies to review this decision carefully and find ways that we can, under federal law, continue protecting Americans from harmful pollution, including pollution that causes climate change,” Biden said in a statement.