Ketanji Brown Jackson

Illinois Leaders Celebrate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as First Black Woman on Supreme Court

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will travel to Washington D.C. in person for a commemoration ceremony.

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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will join a Supreme Court that is both more diverse than ever and more conservative than it’s been since the 1930s.

She’s likely to be on the losing end of a bunch of important cases, including examinations of the role of race in college admissions and voting rights that the high court, with its 6-3 conservative majority, will take up next term.

Jackson, 51, is the first Black woman confirmed to the Supreme Court following Thursday’s 53-47 vote by the Senate. She won’t join the court for several months, until Justice Stephen Breyer retires once the court wraps up its work for the summer — including its verdict on whether to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion rights.

When Jackson takes the bench as a justice for the first time, in October, she will be one of four women and two Black justices — both high court firsts.

And the nine-member court as a whole will be younger than it’s been for nearly 30 years, when Breyer, now 83, came on board.

Friday, a commemoration ceremony will take place at The White House celebrating the Jackson's confirmation, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot travel in person to Washington D.C. to witness the historic event.

"As a Black female lawyer myself, I am beaming with pride and add my voice to the chorus of well-wishers who are congratulating Judge Jackson on making history today. She may be the first, but she will certainly not be the last. She will continue to inspire many others who look like her to follow in her footsteps," Lightfoot said in a statement.

Here's what other local leaders are saying about the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson

Illinois Black Legislative Caucus:

“Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is one of the most impressive, qualified and fair-minded Supreme Court justices ever confirmed. Her dedication to economic justice, civil rights, reproductive health care access and other pressing issues exhibits her extensive expertise and commitment to justice under the law. As the first Black woman Supreme Court justice, Justice Jackson will defend the rights of all Americans, regardless of race or background, and work towards a more just system for generations to come.

We are excited to see how Justice Jackson uses her integrity, upstanding character and expert legal knowledge to positively impact our country and inspire the next generation of Black leaders. We stand with Justice Jackson in our dedication to public service and justice, and celebrate this monumental day in our history.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowski:

"Today, the Senate confirmed by a bipartisan vote of 53-47 a highly qualified jurist, former public defender, and first Black woman to the United States Supreme Court. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson brings hope to so many of us and her confirmation reflects what makes this nation great. During her confirmation hearings we heard the story of a girl born to public school teachers who was taught that despite the many barriers she would face, that in America, if she worked hard and believed in herself, she could do anything and be anything she wanted. Judge Jackson did just that, and she did it with skill, integrity, and compassion. She is living proof to Black girls in America that the sky is the limit.

"Judge Jackson also represents a beacon of hope to our country’s most vulnerable. She will be the first justice with experience as a federal public defender. I am thrilled that we will finally have someone on our highest court who understands how the criminal justice system looks in the eyes of poor defendants and who has witnessed the unfairness and hurdles within it. Her experience as a public defender is inextricably tied to the fight for racial justice and that experience now proves invaluable as she begins her journey on the Supreme Court.

"I look forward to watching her continue her quest to make the words engraved on the front of the Supreme Court Building – 'Equal Justice Under Law' – a reality."

The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) commends the U.S. Senate for confirming Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to the Supreme Court of the United States. After being sworn in, Judge Brown Jackson will become the fourth person of color and the sixth woman to serve on our nation’s highest court, further diversifying the traditionally male and white institution.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has exceptional credentials and substantial experience on the federal bench. Most recently, she served on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit. Judge Jackson has broad experience across the legal profession and has been confirmed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis three times – most recently last year for her current seat.

In the words of National President Yanira Merino, “the confirmation of Judge Brown Jackson is vital in making our judiciary more representative of our nation. It is only through the inclusion of people of color in high levels of government that we will see policy that reflects the needs of our communities.”

We look forward to seeing Judge Brown Jackson’s continued dedication to public service and all that she will accomplish.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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