If history and ceremony are your thing, you might want to see ifyou can book a last-minute flight to Washington, D.C., tomorrow for what’s possibly a once-in-a-lifetime event: the investiture of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States.
What’s investiture, you ask. In the language of us regular folk, it’s a fancy ceremony marking the start of her first term on the highest court in the country. President Joe Biden is expected to be there as well as Vice President Kamala Harris. The ceremony is also expected to bring out hundreds of supporters and elected officials, especially Democrats since Jackson is the first justice to be nominated and confirmed to the court since former President Barack Obama nominated Justice Elena Kagan in 2009.
The investiture ceremony for Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman on the bench, will be marked by pomp from the ages, including the use of Chief Justice John Marshall’s historic bench chair and commission language that dates to the first justice, John Jay, appointed by President George Washington.
“Know ye,” the presidential commission, as read by Clerk of Court Scott Harris, will begin, “that reposing special trust and confidence in the wisdom, uprightness, and learning of Ketanji Brown Jackson … in testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be made patent and the seal of the Department of Justice to be hereunto affixed.”
But while the investiture is historically significant, it’s not the official start of Jackson’s term of the court. She’s been a justice since she was sworn in on June 30, just hours after her predecessor, former Justice Stephen Breyer, officially retired.