Ketanji Brown Jackson

U.S. Supreme Court Nomination Acceptance - Feb. 25, 2022

Ketanji Brown Jackson
February 25, 2022— Washington, D.C.
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Mr. President, I am truly humbled by the extraordinary honor of this nomination, and I am especially grateful for the care that you have taken in discharging your constitutional duty in service of our democracy with all that is going on in the world today.

I also offer my sincerest thanks to you as well, Madam Vice President, for your invaluable role in this nomination process.

I must begin these very brief remarks by thanking God for delivering me to this point in my professional journey. My life has been blessed beyond measure and I do know that one can only come this far by faith.

Among my many blessings—and indeed the very first—is the fact that I was born in this great country. The United States of America is the greatest beacon of hope and democracy the world has ever known.

I was also blessed from my early days to have had a supportive and loving family. My mother and father, who have been married for 54 years, are at their home in Florida right now, and I know that they could not be more proud.

It was my father who started me on this path when I was a child, as the president mentioned. My father made the fateful decision to transition from his job as a public high school history teacher and go to law school. Some of my earliest memories are of him sitting at the kitchen table reading his law books. I watched him study and he became my first professional role model.

My mother, who was also a public high school teacher, provided invaluable support in those early days, working full-time to enable my father's career transition while also guiding and inspiring four-year-old me.

My only sibling, my brother Ketajh, came along half a decade later and I am so proud of all that he's accomplished. After graduating from Howard University, he became a police officer and a detective on some of the toughest streets in the inner city of Baltimore. After that, he enlisted in the Army, serving two tours of duty in the Middle East. I believe that he was following the example set by my uncles, who are in law enforcement.

You may have read that I have one uncle who got caught up in the drug trade and received a life sentence. That is true. But law enforcement also runs in my family. In addition to my brother, I had two uncles who served decades as police officers, one of whom became the police chief in my hometown of Miami, Florida.

I am standing here today by the grace of God as testament to the love and support that I have received from my family. I have also been blessed with many dear friends, colleagues, mentors, law clerks—I could not possibly name all of the people to whom I owe great thanks.

But I must mention specifically the three brilliant jurists for whom I had the privilege of serving as a law clerk at the outset of my legal career—U.S. district judge Patty Saris in Massachusetts, U.S. Court of Appeals judge Bruce Selya in Rhode Island, and last but certainly not least, associate justice Stephen Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Justice Breyer in particular not only gave me the greatest job that any young lawyer could ever hope to have, but he also exemplified every day in every way that a Supreme Court justice can perform at the highest level of skill and integrity while also being guided by civility, grace, pragmatism and generosity of spirit.

Justice Breyer, the members of the Senate will decide if I fill your seat, but please know that I could never fill your shoes.

To my dear family, those who are here with me now and those who are watching from home, I am forever indebted to you for your love and support.

To my beloved husband, Patrick—thank you for being my rock today and every day for these past 26 years. I love you.

To my daughters, Talia and Leila—you are the light of my life. Please know that whatever title I may hold or whatever job I may have, I will still be your mom. That will never change.

There are so many other people I would love to be able to address and to thank but time is short, so let me end by sharing an interesting coincidence that has actually meant a great deal to me over the years.

As it happens, I share a birthday with the first black woman ever to be appointed as a federal judge, the honorable Constance Baker Motley. We were born exactly 49 years to the day apart. Today I proudly stand on Judge Motley's shoulders, sharing not only her birthday but also her steadfast and courageous commitment to equal justice under law.

Judge Motley's life and career has been a true inspiration to me as I have pursued this professional path, and if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, I can only hope that my life and career, my love of this country and the Constitution, and my commitment to upholding the rule of law and the sacred principles upon which this great nation was founded will inspire future generations of Americans.

Thank you again, Mr. President, for this extraordinary honor.