NATIONAL NEWS

Cheers for Jackson, who declares, ‘We’ve made it, all of us’

Apr 8, 2022, 2:48 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:36 pm
U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and Vice President Kamala Harris (R) applaud for Judge Ketanji Brown J...
U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and Vice President Kamala Harris (R) applaud for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during an event celebrating her confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court on the South Lawn of the White House on April 08, 2022 in Washington, DC. Judge Jackson was confirmed by the Senate 53-47 and is set to become the first Black woman to sit on the highest court. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tearfully embracing a history-making moment, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said Friday her confirmation as the first Black woman to the Supreme Court showed the progress of America, declaring, ″We’ve made it — all of us.”

Jackson delivered emotional remarks on the sunny White House South Lawn a day after the Senate approved her nomination, saying, it was a development the entire country could be proud of.

“We have come a long way toward 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 own history by nominating her, stood by her side for Friday’s event, celebrating her confirmation as “a moment of real change in American history.” On Jackson’s other side: Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to attain her high office.

Jackson will take the bench later this year, filling the seat of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on a court that was made up entirely of white men for almost two centuries, that declared her race unworthy of citizenship and endorsed American segregation.

“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” Jackson said. “But we’ve made it. We’ve made it, all of us.”

Jackson, at times speaking through tears as she thanked her family and mentors for their support, promised to follow in Breyer’s footsteps on the bench.

“I have done my level best to stay in my lane and to reach a result that is consistent with my understanding of the law,” she said, “And with the obligation to rule independently, without fear or favor.”

Jackson’s remarks on the White House lawn might be the most, and the last, the public hears from her for some time. She won’t formally join the court until early summer, and the justices won’t hear cases again until October. In any event, justices tend not to say much about themselves in their early years on the court, though some make sporadic public appearances and several have done speaking tours to pitch memoirs or their books about the law.

Jackson’s arrival on the bench won’t upend the current 6-3 conservative balance. But in addition to the racial history, it will for the first time put four women on the court at one time.

Biden nominated Jackson on the second anniversary of his pledge ahead of the South Carolina presidential primary to select a Black woman for the court. The move helped resurrect his flailing campaign and preserved his pathway to the White House, and Biden said the promise of putting someone like Jackson on the court helped motivate his bid for the Oval Office.

“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 toward justice,” Biden told the boisterous crowd on the South Lawn. “I believe so strongly that we needed a court that looks like America.”

Racial questions aside, a number of Republican senators aggressively questioned Jackson during confirmation hearings, accusing her of liberal activism as an appeals court judge and being soft on crime in some of her sentencing.

Biden praised Jackson’s “incredible character and integrity” during the confirmation process, saying she put up with “verbal abuse, the anger, constant interruptions, the most vile baseless assertions and accusations.” He praised the three Republican senators who joined Democrats to back her 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 — with the elite legal background of other justices as well. She has degrees from Harvard and Harvard Law School and held top clerkships, including for Breyer himself.

The crowd on the White House lawn included Jackson’s family, members of Biden’s Cabinet, some of the Democratic senators who backed her nomination, as well as Democratic representatives and allies. The White House said all current and former justices of the Supreme Court were invited, but none attended.

The event came amid a COVID-19 outbreak among Washington’s political class that has sidelined members of Biden’s administration and lawmakers, including Collins and Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, who tested positive for the virus just hours after voting for Brown’s confirmation. 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, like President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden ceremony announcing the nomination of now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Psaki emphasized that the risks from the virus are now much lower because of vaccinations and treatments.

“At that point in time, vaccines were unavailable, people were not vaccinated, it certainly puts us in a different space,” Psaki said.

While not all attendees were tested for the virus, Psaki said those close to Biden would be. Harris delivered remarks, though she was identified on Wednesday as a close contact of a staffer who tested positive. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines require close contacts to wear masks while around other people. Harris did not wear one during the South Lawn event, and she hugged Jackson at the conclusion.

“She had an emotional moment, which is understandable,” said Psaki.

On Thursday, Jackson had joined Biden at the White House to watch the Senate vote unfold on TV, the two of them clasping hands in the Roosevelt Room as her confirmation became reality.

Throughout his 50 years in Washington, Biden has played an instrumental part in shaping the court, both inside and out of the Senate. But this was his first opportunity to make a selection of his own.

Biden may not get another chance. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an interview Thursday with Axios, refused to commit to hold confirmation hearings for a future Biden nominee to the high court if the GOP retakes control of the Senate in 2023.

While Jackson awaits Breyer’s official retirement, a White House official said, she will remain on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit but continue to recuse herself from cases.

___

AP writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

U.S. Sen. Kyrtsen Sinema (D-AZ) speaks at a news conference after the Senate passed the Respect for...
JONATHAN J. COOPER and LISA MASCARO, Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema switches to independent

Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona says she has switched her registration to independent.
16 hours ago
Oranges lay on the ground near a tree after hurricane Ian hit V.C. Holllingsworth's, III, orange gr...
CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press

USDA: Florida orange crop down 36% after twin hurricanes

U.S. officials say Florida's seasonal orange production is forecast to be down 36% from earlier estimates, in part a reflection of twin hurricanes that battered growing regions.
16 hours ago
Questions surround negotiations for prisoner swap to free Brittney Griner...
LEKAN OYEKANMI and ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

Griner in ‘good spirits’ in US after Russian prisoner swap

Brittney Griner returned to the United States Friday and was reunited with her wife nearly 10 months after her detention in Russia made the basketball star the most high-profile American jailed abroad and set off a political firestorm.
16 hours ago
JIm Beam is selling hug-simulating pajamas for the holidays.
Mandatory Credit:	Jim Beam...
Parija Kavilanz, CNN

Jim Beam offers novel fix for holiday blues: hug-simulating pajamas

Bourbon brand Jim Beam is offering what could possibly be the weirdest gift for the holidays — hug-simulating pajamas.
16 hours ago
Patrick Giblin in an undated arrest photo. He portrayed himself to women as a wealthy romantic look...
Faith Karimi, CNN

A fake Romeo charmed over 100 women, then scammed them

Patrick Giblin was like the American version of the "Tinder Swindler" -- but without the private jets.
16 hours ago
Oil prices jump 4% after the Keystone Pipeline was shut down following a leak. Pictured is the pipe...
Matt Egan, CNN Business

Keystone Pipeline shuts down after oil leak, halting flow of 600K barrels a day

The Keystone Pipeline has been shut down following a leak discovered near the border of Kansas and Nebraska.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Cheers for Jackson, who declares, ‘We’ve made it, all of us’