CHICAGO — Cheers in the Senate Chamber as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson made history – the first Black woman to become a United States Supreme Court justice.

Thursday’s 53-47 vote confirmed Jackson would secure her place as the first Black female justice. The 51-year-old will take her seat when Justice Stephen Breyer, 87, retires this summer at the end of the 2021-22 term.

Jackson will be only the third Black justice and the sixth woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. She watched from the White House, hugging President Joe Biden as the votes came in.

Upon the historical confirmation, several Illinois political figures released statements praising the results:

“It’s a historic day in America. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is now confirmed as the first Black woman to be on the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson’s impressive and extensive legal experience simply speaks for itself. Throughout the Senate Judiciary process, she demonstrated the kind of intellect, empathy, and mettle that Americans deserve from a judge with a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court. As a Black female lawyer myself, I am beaming with pride and add my voice to the chorus of well-wishers who are congratulating Judge Jackson on making history today. She may be the first, but she will certainly not be the last. She will continue to inspire many others who look like her to follow in her footsteps.” 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

“Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is one of the most impressive, qualified and fair-minded Supreme Court justices ever confirmed. Her dedication to economic justice, civil rights, reproductive health care access and other pressing issues exhibits her extensive expertise and commitment to justice under the law. As the first Black woman Supreme Court justice, Justice Jackson will defend the rights of all Americans, regardless of race or background, and work towards a more just system for generations to come.

We are excited to see how Justice Jackson uses her integrity, upstanding character and expert legal knowledge to positively impact our country and inspire the next generation of Black leaders. We stand with Justice Jackson in our dedication to public service and justice, and celebrate this monumental day in our history.

By nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden has delivered on his promise of nominating the nation’s first Black woman Supreme Court justice with an established record of judicial fairness and a commitment to equal justice for all.”

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus

“I congratulate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on her historic confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. I am the proud father of a daughter who aspires to go to law school, and today, I was able to tell her that the sky truly is the limit. Judge Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court, but she will not be the last.

“I applaud the majority of senators who voted in support of today’s historic confirmation. It is unfortunate that, notwithstanding their votes in opposition, some members of the U.S. Senate could not even demonstrate a modicum of respect for the moment that has been afforded to all previous nominees by simply remaining in the chamber during the vote. I appreciate President Biden’s commitment and courage to making this historic appointment, and I applaud Sen. Dick Durbin’s leadership and unwavering professionalism as he presided over many hours of confirmation hearings.

“Judge Jackson’s qualifications speak for themselves, and she will bring not only a wealth of experience and lifetime of public service, but also a needed fresh perspective as a Black woman and the first former public defender to serve on the Supreme Court. I look forward to the highest court in the land better reflecting the diversity of our great country.”

Attorney General Kwame Raoul

VIDEO: North Central College professor talks Jackson’s confirmation

“Judge Jackson made history today as one of the most qualified and impressive individuals ever confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Her extensive background and wealth of experience, including her time as a federal public defender, will help inform her work and provide her an important perspective that has been ignored for far too long in this country.

“With impressive grace and resilience in the face of profound and offensive mischaracterizations of her record over the last few weeks, she proved she has exactly the kind of temperament our nation deserves.

I wish her well as she ascends to the highest court in the nation, on a strong bipartisan vote, and am proud of what she’s already accomplished.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth

This president made a wise and strong choice. It’s good for America and she is good for the Court.

Sen. Dick Durbin

I am filled with joy upon today’s history-making Senate confirmation of the Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson as the next Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In addition to her superb qualifications, legal knowledge, and judicial temperament, as Justice Brown Jackson, she will stand as a symbol of hope and progress. She represents what is possible when we dedicate ourselves to equal justice under the law for all. As I sit with the enormity of Judge Brown Jackson’s appointment to the Supreme Court, I am grateful to have witnessed her rise, and I look forward to seeing the impact she will make in her role. Today, my youngest daughter and little Black girls throughout the nation will know they, too, can aspire to serve on the highest court of the land.

Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton