Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. watches as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson signs the oaths of office in the Supreme Court Justices’ Boardroom June 30 in Washington, DC. (Fred Schilling/US Supreme Court Collection/Getty Images)

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the newest member of the Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon, becoming the first black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

She replaces former judge Stephen Breyer, who retired from the bench at noon ET.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court handed down rulings on two important environmental and immigration cases as it completed its term.

new justice

Jackson, 51, joins the court as the 116th member amid a period of scrutiny by the court over recent rulings and low public confidence in the Supreme Court by the American public.

“With a full heart, I accept the solemn responsibility to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and to administer justice without fear or favor, so help me God. I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great nation,” Jackson said in a statement.

During her confirmation hearings earlier this year, she vowed to be fair and impartial as a judge in deciding the law. “I stand on the shoulders of my own role models,” she said at a White House event marking her historic confirmation.

Read more about her journey here and watch the moment she was sworn in here.

EPA decision

The Supreme Court limited the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to broadly regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. It’s a blow to the Biden administration’s attempts to cut emissions at a time when scientists are sounding the alarm about accelerating global warming.

In addition, the court reduced the agency’s authority generally by invoking the so-called “major issues” doctrine – a decision that will impact the federal government’s authority to regulate in other areas of policy. climate, as well as internet regulation and worker safety. .

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the Conservative majority opinion, with the three Liberal justices dissenting. Roberts said “our precedent advises skepticism of the EPA’s assertion” that the law “allows it to design carbon emissions caps based on a generational shift approach.”

Judge Elena Kagan, writing for dissenters, sounded the alarm on global warming and said the court’s ruling ‘stripped’ the EPA of the ‘power Congress gave it to respond to the ‘environmental challenge’. the most pressing of our time.

“I can’t think of many scarier things,” she said.

The White House, along with environmental experts, lambasted the decision, while Republicans like West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice applauded it.

Immigration decision

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave President Biden the green light to end the controversial “Remain in Mexico” immigration policy that originated under the Trump administration.

The Supreme Court’s decision is a major victory for Biden’s immigration agenda, as the administration suffered several losses in lower courts in its effort to reverse Trump’s sweeping immigration policies.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said the relevant immigration law “clearly confers a discretionary power to return foreigners to Mexico for the duration of their immigration process”.
“The use of the word ‘may’ in” the question of law, Roberts wrote, “makes it clear that return to contiguous territory is a tool which the (DHS) Secretary ‘has the power, but not the duty’ to ‘utilize.”

Roberts was joined by the liberal justices and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, with Kavanaugh also filing a concurring opinion.

In addition, the Supreme Court on Thursday sent three abortion-related cases back to lower courts for reconsideration now that the court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional protections for obtaining an abortion. The decision reflects the radically changed legal landscape around abortion after the Supreme Court’s new ruling last week in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.

Next term: Although summers are usually the time for judges to flee Washington, the next term begins in just three months and momentous cases are on the docket.

On the very first day in office, Jackson will take the seat reserved for the court’s youngest judge and hear a case that could limit the federal government’s jurisdiction over protected wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

The next day, they will hear a redistricting case out of Alabama and explore the contours of a key Voting Rights Act provision that prohibits discriminatory voting practices on the basis of race.

The Supreme Court also agreed today to hear a redistricting dispute in North Carolina, a case that could have major implications for suffrage nationwide and fundamentally change the landscape of election law..

CNN’s Vogue’s Ariane, Tierney Sneed, Priscilla Alvarez, Ella Nilsen and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this post.

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