WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden hosted Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson at the White House on Friday to celebrate his landmark Senate confirmation to serve as the first black woman on the Supreme Court.
To cheers and applause, Biden stood with Vice President Kamala Harris, the first black woman to hold that elected office, and Jackson at the event on the South Lawn.
“We will look back and see this as a real turning point in American history,” Biden said, adding that he had thought about the importance of nominating a black woman to the Supreme Court “for a long, long time.”
During the confirmation process, he said: “We all saw the kind of justice that will be: fair and impartial, thoughtful, careful, precise, brilliant, a brilliant legal mind with a deep understanding of the law and a judicial temperament, which was equally important. That, in my opinion, is calm and control, and a humility that allows so many Americans to see themselves in Ketanji Brown Jackson.”
Responding to what he described as “vile” statements from members of the GOP, Biden said Jackson “showed the incredible character and integrity that he possesses: poise, poise and composure, patience and restraint. And, yes, perseverance and even joy.” . Republican senators accused Jackson of being soft on crime, attacking her sentencing record and her time as a defense attorney.
“You are the very definition of what the Irish call dignity,” said the president, who frequently invokes his Irish heritage.
Jackson expressed her deep gratitude for those who supported her during the confirmation process.
It has taken more than 230 years “and 115 prior appointments for a black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” she said, her eyes sometimes teary and her voice full of emotion. “But we’ve done it, we’ve done it. All of us.”
“So as I take on this new role, I firmly believe that this is a moment that all Americans can be very proud of,” Jackson said. “We’ve come a long way to perfect our union. In my family, it took just a generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States. And it’s an honor, the honor of a lifetime, for me to have this opportunity to join the court, promote the rule of law at the highest level, and do my part to advance our shared project of democracy and equal justice under the law well into the future.”
Harris said the belief that the United States could form a more perfect union had driven the nation for generations, “and it is that belief that we reaffirmed yesterday” with the Senate vote to confirm Jackson.
Harris, who presided over the vote, told Jackson she wrote a note to her goddaughter, who was wearing braids “a little longer than hers,” while senators voted.
“And I told him that I felt a deep sense of pride and joy for what this moment means for our nation and for its future,” the vice president said.
“So, indeed, the path to our most perfect union is not always straight, and it is not always smooth, but sometimes it leads to a day like today, a day that reminds us of what is possible, what is possible when advance. , and that the journey, well, will always be worth it”.
The Senate confirmed Jackson on Thursday in a 53-47 vote. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine; Lisa Murkowski from Alaska; and Mitt Romney of Utah joined the 50-member Democratic caucus.
Those three Republicans will not attend the event on Friday because Collins has tested positive for Covid and Murkowski is in Alaska for an event and a spokesman for Romney said he would not be attending. The Utah Republican and former 2012 GOP presidential candidate was the only Republican to join in the loud applause that erupted for Jackson’s confirmation after the vote.
Biden watched the vote unfold Thursday with Jackson in the White House.
Jackson will not become a judge until the end of the court’s current term, likely in June or July, when Justice Stephen Breyer is expected to resign and Biden fulfills a major campaign promise to put the first black woman on the Supreme Court. . .
Once Jackson takes his place on the bench, the high court will continue to maintain a conservative 6-3 balance because he will replace a liberal justice.
frank thorpv contributed.