Supreme Court’s new ‘class photo’ includes number of firsts

Members of the Supreme Court sit for a new group portrait following the addition of Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, at the Supreme Court building in Washington, Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Bottom row, from left, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Top row, from left, Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
265805 Pinchos- PGB promo Banner (25 x 5 cm)-5 copy

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The group photo of the Supreme Court’s nine members is a long-standing ritual. But it has never looked quite like the one taken on Friday.

The new image includes Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black female justice, who joined the court in June. With her addition, the court marks a number of firsts. It’s the first time white men don’t hold a majority on the court and the first time four women have served together. It’s also the first time the court has had two Black justices.

Jackson participated in her first arguments this week because the justices began their summer break when she joined the court.

Friday’s formal photo captured by news photographers is sometimes called the group’s “class photo.” In it, the justices are positioned in front of a red curtain, similar to their courtroom’s red drapes. Five of the justices are seated in their black robes with Chief Justice John Roberts in the center. The four remaining justices stand behind them. The justices sit in order of seniority with the longest-serving justice, Justice Clarence Thomas, sitting on Roberts’ right. Jackson is standing at the far right.

Because no cameras are allowed in the courtroom when the justices hear arguments, the class photo is one of the few times the group is photographed together. The justices also were photographed together at Jackson’s ceremonial investiture last week. A new class photo generally won’t be taken until another justice joins the court.