Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed for Supreme Court: Here Are the Cases She'll Hear

Jackson was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday by a 53 to 47 vote.

President Biden congratulates Ketanji Brown Jackson moments after the Senate confirmed her to the Supreme Court by a margin of 53 to 47. 
Oliver Contreras/for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Joe Biden is holding a White House celebration for the Senate confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court. The upper chamber's 53-47 vote on Thursday was largely along party lines, though Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also supported the confirmation.  

Both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will speak at the event, being held on the South Lawn of the White House at 12:30 p.m. ET,  as will Jackson herself.

Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden on Feb. 25 to replace retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer. Once she's sworn in, she will be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. 

"This is a tremendously historic day in the White House and in the country," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said shortly after the vote.

Here's what's next in the process for Jackson, including when she could be sworn in and what cases she will likely hear as the newest member of the Supreme Court.

When will Ketanji Brown Jackson be sworn in?

Associate Justice Stephen Breyer has indicated he will finish out the current judicial term, which concludes at the end of June. Jackson could then take the bench with the start of the new judicial term, traditionally the first Monday in October. 

This year that falls on Monday, Oct. 3.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

US Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson being sworn in before her Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing on March 21, 2022.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Jackson is expected to be sworn in over the summer recess, once Justice Breyer steps down. 

She may begin executing her duties after taking two oaths: The constitutional oath, in which she affirms that she is bound to support the Constitution and that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office," and the judicial oath, in which she vows to administer justice impartially and faithfully, "without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich."

The Constitution provides that judges serve during "good behavior," which has generally been interpreted as a lifetime appointment. 

What cases could Jackson hear on the Supreme Court?

To date, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear nine cases during its 2022-2023 term, though it has not scheduled any of them for arguments yet. The docket includes:

One case Jackson won't hear is a suit challenging affirmative action practices at Harvard University, where she earned both her undergraduate and law degrees and serves on the Board of Overseers. She testified in her hearings that, if confirmed, she would recuse herself from the case.

Who is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson?

Jackson was born in Washington, DC, in 1970 and raised in Miami. Her father, Johnny, was an attorney for the Miami-Dade School Board while her mother, Ellery, was principal at New World School of the Arts in downtown Miami. 

Jackson's maternal uncle, Calvin Ross, was Miami's police chief from 1991 to 1994. Her younger brother, Ketajh Brown, served with the Baltimore Police Department from 2001 to 2008.

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Jackson in Sen. Cory Booker's Capitol Hill office.

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After receiving both her degrees from Harvard, Jackson worked as a public defender and in private practice. She also served as a US district judge in the District of Columbia and on the US Sentencing Commission.

Announcing her nomination, Biden said she was "one of our nation's brightest legal minds and will be an exceptional justice." He praised her as a "proven consensus builder" with a distinguished resume as both an attorney and a jurist.

At the same briefing, Jackson credited her father with inspiring her passion for the law. "Some of my earliest memories are of him sitting at the kitchen table reading his books," she said. "I watched him study, and he became my first professional role model."