On Thursday, the Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.
The historic vote in favor of Jackson makes her the first Black woman to serve on the highest court in the nation. Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to serve as vice president, presided over the Senate vote.
According to the White House official bio, Judge Jackson was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Miami, Florida. Her parents attended segregated primary schools, then attended historically black colleges and universities. Both started their careers as public school teachers and became leaders and administrators in the Miami-Dade Public School System. When Judge Jackson was in preschool, her father attended law school. In a 2017 lecture, Judge Jackson traced her love of the law back to sitting next to her father in their apartment as he tackled his law school homework—reading cases and preparing for Socratic questioning—while she undertook her preschool homework—coloring books.
Judge Jackson stood out as a high achiever throughout her childhood. She was a speech and debate star who was elected “mayor” of Palmetto Junior High and student body president of Miami Palmetto Senior High School. But like many Black women, Judge Jackson still faced naysayers. When Judge Jackson told her high school guidance counselor she wanted to attend Harvard, the guidance counselor warned that Judge Jackson should not set her “sights so high.”
That did not stop Judge Jackson. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, then attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Judge Jackson lives with her husband, Patrick, and their two daughters, in Washington, DC.