Ketanji Brown Jackson made history on April 7, 2022, when she became the first Black woman to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. But, the former U.S. circuit judge wasn’t the only one in the spotlight during her March confirmation hearings. Brown Jackson also made sure to call attention to one very special person in the audience as part of her opening remarks to the judiciary committee: her husband, Dr. Patrick Graves Jackson.
“I have no doubt that, without him by my side from the very beginning of this incredible professional journey, none of this would have been possible,” she said. The former lawyer, who met her spouse in college more than three decades prior, went on to say that her spouse has been “the best husband, father and friend” she could ever imagine, adding, “Patrick, I love you.”
Graves Jackson, for his part, was visibly touched by his wife’s sentiments, wiping away tears as he listened to her speak and sparking a Twitter-storm of reaction from viewers who found his raw emotion endearing.
The surgeon, who is white, had some sweet words of his own for his wife In June 2021, when he reportedly tweeted out a special message on Loving Day—a holiday celebrating the June 12, 1967 Supreme Court decision to strike down all state laws banning interracial marriage. "Happy Loving Day! I am especially thankful to be walking through life with a brilliant and compassionate partner who still takes my breath away, made possible by sacrifices like Richard and Mildred Loving,” he wrote according to the Associated Press.
Keep reading to learn all about the man the newest Supreme Court justice spoke so highly of—and their story-like romance.
He’s Been Married to Ketanji Since 1996
Not only has Graves Jackson been married to the judge for the past 25 years, he was Brown Jackson's first serious boyfriend before that.
"While at Harvard, I also met and dated my serious boyfriend, who later became my husband," the Florida native said in a in a March 2017 speech for the University of Georgia School of Law.
Brown Jackson also laid out the couple's timeline while speaking, saying, "We were an unlikely pair in many respects, but somehow we found each other, and we dated continuously for six-and-half-years, through the end of college, and the entirely of his Columbia medical school experience and my Harvard Law School experience, before we got married in 1996."
He’s a Surgeon
After receiving his medical degree from the Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and completing a residency as a surgical assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital, Graves Jackson became the chief of the Division of General Surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. He specializes in "pancreatic surgery, surgical oncology, and minimally invasive surgery."
He’s a Father
In addition to being a doctor, Graves Jackson is a proud father to the two daughters he shares with Brown Jackson: Talia, 21, and Leila, 17.
Brown Jackson shared a special message for the couple's girls during her confirmation hearing opening statements as well, saying, "I know it has not been easy as I have tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I did not always get the balance right. But I hope that you have seen that with hard work, determination, and love, it can be done.”
She concluded: “I am so looking forward to seeing what each of you chooses to do with your amazing lives in this incredible country."
He’s a Twin
Brown Jackson revealed during the opening statements for her confirmation hearings that her husband is an identical twin, and that her brother-in-law, William, and his wife Dana, were in attendance to lend his support.
“Also here … are Patrick’s older brother Gardie and his wife Natalie," she gushed. "And my very dear in-laws, Pamela and Gardner Jackson, have traveled here from Boston to be with me today."
He’s a Legacy Harvard Graduate
Patrick and William were the ultimate Harvard legacy students when the former met Brown Jackson. “[Patrick] and his twin brother are, in fact, the sixth generation in their family to graduate from Harvard College,” Brown Jackson said
His background differed starkly from his wife’s own: “By contrast, I am only the second generation in my family to go to any college, and I am fairly certain that if you traced my family lineage back past my grandparents, who were raised in Georgia, by the way, you would find that my ancestors were slaves on both sides,” she shared.
He’s Always Cheered on His Wife's Work
In a June 2021 piece for NPR, Federal Judge Patti Saris recalled Graves Jackson coming to her courtroom to support his wife, then a law clerk, and watch the proceedings—even after spending a full 24 hours on call as a surgical resident at Massachusetts General Hospital.
He is Bilingual
The father of the two lists both English and Spanish as his languages on his company's professional website.
He Has a Flair for Fashion
Graves Jackson’s emotional displays of pride weren’t the only thing onlookers noticed about Brown Jackson’s longtime partner at her confirmation hearings. The medical professional also turned heads with his choice of bold historical socks by Hsell, which featured presidential figures, such as President John F. Kennedy and Benjamin Franklin.