Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson joined the United States Supreme Court in June 2022. Justice Jackson was nominated to the position by President Joe Biden and is the 116th justice to be sworn into the United States Supreme Court, and she is the first Black woman to ever sit on the bench. She is also the first justice to ever serve as a public defender before their time on the nation's highest court.
Education & Clerkships
Justice Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Miami, Florida. She attended Harvard College for her undergraduate degree, where she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts in government in 1992. Her senior thesis was titled: "The Hand of Oppression: Plea Bargaining Processes and the Coercion of Criminal Defendants."
She returned to Harvard Law School for her law degree, where she graduated cum laude with her Juris Doctor in 1996. In law school, Justice Jackson served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review. Following her graduation, Justice Jackson clerked for Judge Patti B. Saris of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts for a year. She then clerked with Judge Bruce M. Selya of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit until 1998.
After spending a year working in private practice at the law firm of Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin (now Baker Botts), she completed her third and final clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer. She would later succeed Justice Breyer when he retired twenty years later, in June 2022.
Justice Jackson worked in private practice until 2003 at the firms of Goodwin Procter and Kenneth Feinberg (now Feinberg & Rozen LLP). From 2003 to 2005, she was an assistant special counsel for the United States Sentencing Commission. She then served as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, D.C., for two years. Between 2007 and 2010, Justice Jackson worked as an appellate specialist in private practice at the international law firm Morrison Foerster.
In 2009, former President Barack Obama nominated Justice Jackson to the United States Sentencing Commission as the vice chair and commissioner. She was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Three years later, Obama nominated Justice Jackson to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia as a United States judge.
President Joe Biden nominated Justice Jackson as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2021. She filled the seat vacated by Judge Merrick Garland. Biden later nominated Justice Jackson to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Breyer. She was confirmed with a U.S. Senate vote of 53-47. Justice Jackson was sworn in and officially became an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 30, 2022.
Justice Jackson wrote her first opinion as an associate justice in November 2022 in Chinn v. Shoop, dissenting against the denial of review for a death row inmate. Justice Jackson's first unanimous opinion was authored in February 2023 in Delaware v. Pennsylvania. This case addressed how unclaimed money is distributed between states.