WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – In a tearful embrace of the history-making moment, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said Friday that she has been confirmed as the first black woman Showing America’s progress to the Supreme Court, declaring, “We’ve made it – we all.”
Jackson made emotional remarks on the White House South Lawn a day after the Senate approved his nomination, saying it was a development that the entire nation can be proud of.
“We have come a long way towards perfecting our union,” she said. “In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
President Joe Biden, who made his history by nominating him, stood by his side for Friday’s event, celebrating his confirmation as a “moment of real change in American history.” Jackson’s Other Side: Vice President Kamala HarrisThe first black woman to achieve her high position.
Jackson will take the bench later this year, filling retired Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat in a court that for nearly two centuries was made up entirely of white people, declared his race eligible for citizenship and supported American secession. .
“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a black woman to be elected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” Jackson said. “But we’ve made it. We’ve made it, we all.”
Jackson, sometimes speaking through tears, thanked his family and mentors for their support, promising to follow in Breyer’s footsteps on the bench.
“I have tried my best to stick to my street and reach a result consistent with my understanding of the law,” she said, “and with an obligation to govern freely without fear or favour.
Jackson’s remarks on the White House lawn may be the most, and the last, the public hears from him for some time. She won’t formally attend court until early summer, and judges won’t hear cases again until October. In any event, Justice doesn’t say much about himself in court in his early years, though some make sporadic public appearances and many have made speaking tours to pitch memoirs or his books about the law.
With Jackson on the bench, the current 6-3 conservative balance will not be disturbed. But apart from racial history, it will for the first time present four women in court at once.
Biden nominated Jackson on the second anniversary of his pledge before South Carolina’s presidential primary to select a black woman to court. The move helped revive his drifting campaign and preserved his route to the White House, and Biden said his promise to court someone like Jackson helped inspire his bid for the Oval Office. Of.
“I could see it as a day of hope, a day of promise, a day of progress, a day when once again the moral arc of the universe – as Barack (Obama) used to quote all the time – bends a little more to justice, Biden told the crowd on the South Lawn. “I believe so strongly that we need a court that looks like America.”
Racial questions aside, several Republican senators aggressively questioned Jackson during confirmation hearings, accusing him of liberal activism as an appeals court judge, and of being soft on guilt in some of his sentences.
Biden praised Jackson’s “incredible character and integrity” during the confirmation process, saying he made “verbal abuse, anger, constant interruption, the most baseless unfounded claims and allegations”. He praised three Republican senators who joined Democrats to support him for the court: Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.
Jackson will be the High Court’s first former public defender — along with the elite legal background of other judges. She has degrees from Harvard and Harvard Law School and holds top clerkships including Breuer herself.
The crowd on the White House lawn included Jackson’s family, members of Biden’s cabinet, some Democratic senators who supported his nomination, as well as Democratic representatives and aides. The White House said all current and former Supreme Court justices were invited, but none appeared.
The incident took place amid a COVID-19 outbreak among Washington’s political class that sidelined members of Biden’s administration and lawmakers, including Collins and Georgia Sen. Rafael Warnock, just hours after they voted for Brown’s confirmation. tested positive for the virus. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was on the invite list, tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday addressed concerns that the White House event could be a “super-spreader” for the virus, such as President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden ceremony leading up to the nomination of now-Justice Amy Connie Barrett. declare. Saki stressed that the risks from the virus are now very low due to vaccination and treatment.
“At the time, vaccines weren’t available, people weren’t vaccinated, it definitely puts us in a different place,” Saki said.
While not all attendees were tested for the virus, Psaki said those who would be close to Biden. Harris remarked though he was identified on Wednesday as a close contact of an employee who tested positive. Disease Control and Prevention guidelines require close contact to wear a mask while around other people. Harris didn’t wear one during the South Lawn event, and she hugged Jackson at the conclusion.
“They had an emotional moment, which is understandable,” Saki said.
On Thursday, Jackson was joined by Biden to watch the Senate vote on TV at the White House, with the two shaking hands in the Roosevelt Room as his confirmation became reality.
During his 50 years in Washington, Biden has been instrumental in shaping the court, both inside and outside the Senate. But this was his first time to make his own choice.
Biden may not get a chance again. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an interview with Axios on Thursday, declined to hold confirmation hearings for a future Biden nominee in the High Court if the GOP takes back control of the Senate in 2023.
While Jackson awaits Breyer’s official retirement, a White House official said, she will remain in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s Court of Appeals but will continue to recuse herself from the cases.
Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.