Biden, Harris to attend Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson's investiture at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Friday will attend the investiture ceremony for Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson – his first nominee to the Supreme Court – reviving a tradition that had been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses will attend the brief ceremony at the Supreme Court, the White House said Thursday.

Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the nation's highest court, was confirmed by the Senate in April, and officially joined the court in June after taking the oath of office. The investiture is a ceremonial event, something of a formal welcome for a new justice.

Biden will appear in the ornate courtroom months after a majority of the justices overturned Roe v. Wade, expanded access to handguns and chipped away at the principle of separation of church and state. In its final opinion of the previous term, the court permitted the Biden administration to end a Trump-era immigration policy that required migrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico while their cases are reviewed.

The high court begins a new term Monday and will tackle several big issues, including race-conscious admissions at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina, several questions about the way states manage federal elections and a free speech challenge to a Colorado law that bars discrimination against LGBTQ residents.

President Joe Biden listens as Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House on April 8, 2022.
President Joe Biden listens as Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House on April 8, 2022.

Then-President Donald Trump attended Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh's investiture in 2018. Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett's investiture was put on hold during the pandemic. By the time the ceremony was held, Barrett had already served on the court for a year and Trump had been out of the White House for months.

For Biden, the event is a culmination of a campaign promise to name the first Black woman to the high court in its 233-year history. The administration has been focused on diversifying the federal bench: Out of 143 federal judge nominations, 68% have been women and 66% have been people of color. Nearly a third are African American.

Chief Justice Warren Burger began to hold the special investiture sittings of the court in 1970. Burger also started the tradition of having the new justice sit in the same chair used by Chief Justice John Marshall in the early 19th century. After the ceremony, Jackson and Chief Justice John Roberts will walk down the court's front steps.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden to attend Justice Jackson's Supreme Court investiture ceremony