Justice Jackson makes his Supreme Court debut in a brief ceremony | Region

WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson made her first appearance from the Supreme Court bench in a brief ceremony in the courtroom on Friday, three days before the start of the High Court’s new term.

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their wives attended the invitation-only investiture ceremony of Jackson, the first black woman on the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts wished Jackson, 52, a “long and happy career in our common appeal”, the traditional welcome of a new judge.

She took her place at the far end of the bench to Roberts’ left, right next to Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The judges sit by seniority.

During the ceremony, Jackson also followed the custom of all other new judges since 1972 and sat in a chair that once belonged to John Marshall, who served as chief justice for 34 years in the early 1800s.

Marshall was also a slave owner, perhaps adding a special thrill to Jackson taking his place in his unique possession. She is only the third black judge in the court’s history, along with her new colleague, Justice Clarence Thomas, and the late Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Friday’s ceremony included the reading of the commission nominating Jackson to court. She also repeated the oath she took when she officially joined the court in June, just after Justice Stephen Breyer retired.

Breyer was part of a courtroom packed with dignitaries, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Speaker Paul Ryan, a relative of Jackson by marriage.

Jackson’s parents, daughters, brother and in-laws were front row seats.

Several wives of current and former judges were also present, including Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. Thomas was interviewed Thursday by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 uprising.

Jackson was confirmed in April by a 53-47 vote in the Senate, with three Republican senators joining all Democrats in supporting her.

Biden pledged during his presidential campaign to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court.

Biden, Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff spent a few minutes with the judges before the court was called, court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said.

The president said nothing during the five-minute, tightly scripted hearing ceremony.

Back at the White House, Biden tweeted in praise of Jackson’s “brilliant legal mind” and touted his record on appointing judges.

“In fact, we have appointed 84 federal judges so far. No group of so many judges has been appointed so quickly or so diverse,” Biden said.

Jackson and Roberts descended the 36 steps of the courthouse to take photos after the ceremony. They chatted briefly in the court square, and when Roberts left, the judge’s husband, Dr. Patrick Jackson, joined her.

“I’m so proud of you,” said Dr Jackson, as they hugged in front of a gathering of reporters and well-wishers.

Jackson is the first judge nominated by a Democratic president since Justice Elena Kagan joined the court in 2010. Kagan was nominated by former President Barack Obama, who also nominated Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2009.

It appeared Obama would get a third choice on the high court when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016. But Senate Republicans refused to accept Obama’s nomination of then-high court judge Merrick Garland. federal appeal. Garland, now attorney general, also participated in Friday’s ceremony.

Former President Donald Trump ultimately chose Justice Neil Gorsuch, the first of his three Supreme Court appointees, to fill the Scalia seat.


Associated Press writer Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Elna M. Lemons