Ketanji Brown Jackson photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue

·2 min read

US Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has been photographed by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz for Vogue magazine’s September Issue.

The powerful images show the 51-year-old justice photographed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, just one month after she was sworn in as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. In one photo, Jackson is seen subtly smiling with her hands folded in front of her, as her back is turned to the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. She wears a brown double-breasted wool coat from Aliétte, and a Tiffany pearl and diamond pendant paired with Tiffany Victoria earrings.

In the second photograph, Jackson stands tall in a blue Oscar de la Renta coat and black dress from the same label. The Supreme Court justice leans against a massive pillar, while the dimly lit monument of President Abraham Lincoln sits stoically in the background.

The images were snapped by iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz, who had captured the Ukrainian first lady at her home in Kyiv less than a month ago. The photos were accompanied by a reflective piece, written by public defender Imeime Umana, on how Jackson has paved the way for so many Black women in the US.

Vogue shared the images from the photoshoot to social media on Tuesday. “Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation speaks to a deep-seated American desire to believe that we can transcend our past,” Vogue captioned its post.

“Love Ketanji ‘s strength, intelligence and perseverance,” one person commented.

“Powerful,” another user said.

“Empowered, intelligent, inspirational and beautiful!” a third person wrote.

On 30 June, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the 116th justice on the US Supreme Court by retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, whose seat she has since assumed. After a number of whirlwind confirmation hearings dominated by right-wing politicians, Jackson was confirmed in the Senate on 7 April by a vote of 53 to 47, with Republicans Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins voting in her favour.

Following the Senate’s confirmation, Jackson delivered a stirring speech on the White House South Lawn, where she quoted the late poet Maya Angelou and connected her historic confirmation to many Black Americans living in the US.

“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” she said. “But we’ve made it.”

“The path was cleared for me so that I might rise to the occasion,” she said. “And in the poetic words of Dr Maya Angelou, ‘I do so now while bringing the gifts my ancestors gave. I am the dream and the hope of the slave.’”