Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in at noon on Thursday to formally become an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, making her the nation’s first African American woman to serve in that role.
Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath for Jackson while Associate Justice Stephen Breyer administered the judicial oath, in a ceremony before a small gathering of her family at the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill.
Jackson, in a statement, said that she will administer justice “without fear or favor.”
The ceremony was streamed live on the homepage of the Supreme Court’s website. A formal investiture ceremony will take place at a later date, according to the court.
It came a day after Breyer, who had served in the Supreme Court since 1994, announced he would step down from the Supreme Court bench on Thursday. The 83-year-old liberal announced his retirement from the court early this year.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced in late February the nomination of Jackson, 51, to succeed Breyer. It was one of the veteran Democrat’s major promises to fill a potential Supreme Court vacancy with an African American woman.
The U.S. Senate confirmed Jackson in a 53-47 vote in April, with three Republicans joining 50 Democrats and independents in supporting Biden’s nomination of her for the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is the final appellate court of the U.S. judicial system, with the power to review and overturn lower court decisions, and is also generally the final interpreter of federal law, including the country’s constitution.
Since the Supreme Court was established in the United States in 1789, 116 justices have been confirmed to the bench. Of them, 108 are white men and only six are women, including Jackson. The justices have life tenure and can serve until they die, resign, retire, or are impeached and removed from office.