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Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in Thursday as Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retires

Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in Thursday as Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retires
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sworn in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court Thursday as Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement becomes official. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

June 29 (UPI) -- Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sworn in Thursday as an associate justice to the Supreme Court as Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement becomes official, the court said Wednesday.

Jackson is the first Black woman to serve on the high court. She will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, while Breyer will administer the judicial oath.

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Jackson was confirmed by the Senate in April. She was a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington and also clerked for Justice Breyer.

Justice Breyer revealed, in a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday, that his retirement from the Supreme Court would become official Thursday. Breyer made his decision to retire in January.

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"The court has announced that tomorrow, beginning at 10 a.m., it will hand down all remaining opinions ready during this term," Justice Breyer wrote in his letter, "Accordingly, my retirement from active service... will be effective on Thursday, June 30, 2022, at noon."

Breyer told President Biden in the letter, "It has been my great honor to participate as a judge in the effort to maintain our Constitution and Rule of Law."

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Biden announced Breyer's retirement January 27.

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Justice Breyer leaves a legacy that reflects the court he joined nearly three decades ago.

When nominated by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1994 Breyer was not a controversial choice. He was confirmed by the Senate 87-9.

Breyer's successor will be Judge Katanji Brown Jackson, confirmed April 8 in 53-47 vote by a much more divided Senate.

Jackson is just the sixth woman to be confirmed to the Supreme Court in its history.

Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman Justice in 1981, and has been followed by Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 1993, Sonia Sotomayor in 2009, Elena Kagan in 2010 and Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.

Progressive activists had pressured Breyer to retire to ensure Democrats would be able to choose his replacement on the court.

Breyer has described differences among the Supreme Court Justices as philosophical rather than political.

According to ABC News, Breyer was asked in 2017 how he would like to be remembered and told the interviewer, "You play the hand you're dealt. You're dealt one. And you do the best with what you have. If people say yes, he did, he tried, he did his best and was a decent person, good."

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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire: a look back

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer speaks as the U.S. Mint launches the Chief Justice John Marshall silver dollar on May 4, 2005, in Washington. Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

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