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Justice Jackson

Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the newest justice on the United States Supreme Court.

Ketanji Brown Jackson smiling and raising her right hand

Kevin Lamarque—Pool photo/Getty Images News

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has made history! The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the most powerful court in the United States. Jackson will be the first Black woman ever to serve on the Court.

Jackson will be one of nine Supreme Court justices. Together, Supreme Court justices hear about 80 cases every year. They consider whether laws are fair based on what the U.S. Constitution says. Justices have the power to overturn, or change, decisions made by lower courts. 

How do you become a Supreme Court justice? Justices are nominated by the president before the Senate votes on whether they should get the job. Those who are nominated usually have a lot of experience as a lawyer and a judge. 

Jackson has had a long career in the law. She grew up in Florida, where both of her parents were teachers before her father became a lawyer and her mother became a school principal. Jackson went to Harvard University and Harvard Law School. Then she worked as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, which means she helped him when he was deciding cases. Jackson also worked as a lawyer and then a judge. In 2021, Jackson became a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court, which is the second most powerful court in the nation. When Justice Breyer decided to retire from the Court, President Joe Biden nominated Jackson to replace him.

Like all Supreme Court justices, Jackson will have her job for the rest of her life, unless she decides to retire. Jackson’s decisions and opinions will be very important because they will affect the lives of all Americans.

Did You Know?

Grid showing all six women who have or will serve on the Supreme Court including Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett, and Ketanji Brown Jackson

Steve Petteway, Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States; Collection, The Supreme Court of the United States, courtesy of the Supreme Court Historical Society; U.S. District Court, District of Columbia

The photo above shows all the women who have been confirmed to the Supreme Court. They are (top row) Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor, and (bottom row) Justices Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett, and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Justice Jackson will be only the sixth woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court. However, there are now four women justices on the Court.

Why the Black Robes?

Justices Samuel A. Alito, Clarence Thomas, John G. Roberts, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett pose for a photo in black robes.

Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

This was the official photo of the Supreme Court justices in 2020. The front row is made up of Justice Samuel A. Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The back row is made up of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Justice Breyer is retiring. He will be replaced by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

No one is sure why Supreme Court justices wear black robes. Some historians believe the tradition goes back to 1801. They think Chief Justice John Marshall decided all-black would be best to show that all the justices worked together as one body.  

To this day, most Supreme Court justices have worn black. But there’s no rule stating that they must. Chief Justice William Rehnquist put gold stripes on the sleeves of his robe. And Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg added white collars to theirs.

Which justice will dare to be different next?

The Highest Court

Did you know there’s no jury when the Supreme Court hears a case? There’s a lot more to learn about the highest court in the U.S.!

© Gary Blakeley/

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to give official approval to (something or someone)

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