In 2022, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the 116th Supreme Court justice and the first Black woman to serve on the country’s top court in its 233-year history. Jackson took the oath of office, replacing retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.
Prior to her current position, she was district judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021. In June 2021, President Joe Biden nominated her to fill Merrick Garland’s seat on the D.C. Circuit after Garland was confirmed as attorney general. Jackson has also clerked for three federal judges in the past, including Breyer himself from 1999-2000.
Her rise to become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court did not come easy for the judge. Unlike some of her colleagues on the nine-member bench, her rise to the Supreme Court has yet to produce enormous wealth.
According to Forbes estimates, she is tied to Brett Kavanaugh as the least wealthy justice, worth $2 million. What is more, the business magazine noted that half of her entire net worth is tied up in her D.C. home while the rest is held in an investment portfolio and a stake in a vacation property.
Her net worth is expected to rise with her book coming out later this year, in addition to a generous pension to look forward to when she eventually retires. Penguin Random House will publish her memoir, titled “Lovely One,” in September after she signed a book deal in 2022 reportedly worth $3 million.
Jackson was born in Washington DC and raised in Miami by parents who are both graduates of historically black colleges. Jackson has two degrees from Harvard University, which she attended as an undergraduate and as a law student, and once served as editor of the Harvard Law Review. While at Harvard, BBC reports that she led protests against a student who draped a Confederate flag from his dorm window.
After school, Jackson worked as a clerk for two judges before working various jobs in Boston and Washington D.C. She never stayed long in any one position, according to Forbes, adding that she worked worked at a boutique firm and left after nine months to work as a clerk for Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she eventually replaced at the Supreme Court.
She also took another associate job at a large law firm in Boston and also became a counsel at an appellate firm in 2009. She was subsequently nominated to be vice chair of the Sentencing Commission and began earning a salary of $184,500, which Forbes described as “likely a drop from private practice.”
In 2012, she was picked for a lifetime appointment as a judge in the D.C. district court. Her declared paperwork showed she had a net worth of just under $700,000, including $340,000 of investments and retirement savings. In March 2013, she was confirmed with a new salary of $174,000. By 2021, her salary increased gradually to $218,600. And when she was nominated to the D.C. Circuit, she reported a net worth of $1.7 million.
By the time she was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Biden, Jackson’s net worth had increased to $1.8 million, according to Senate filings cited by Forbes.
Forbes estimates that total has grown to around $2 million now.