New US Supreme Court justice Jackson hails progress on racial equality

Ketanji Brown Jackson makes her first public remarks at White House event



AFP
AFP

By AFP

Published: Fri 8 Apr 2022, 10:28 PM

Ketanji Brown Jackson celebrated her rise "from segregation to the Supreme Court" at a White House event Friday marking her confirmation as the first Black woman appointed to the nation's highest judicial bench.

In her first public remarks since the Senate endorsed her on Thursday, the 51-year-old judge said the appointment was the "honour of a lifetime."

"In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States," she told around 150 guests invited to the South Lawn by President Joe Biden.

"And it is an honour, the honour of a lifetime, for me to have this chance to join the court."

Jackson came out of the White House with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to cheers from the new justice's family, current and former Supreme Court justices, administration officials and senators who voted for her.

Jackson thanked the "many, many people" who had helped her on her journey, from family, friends and the American public to the White House staff involved in the "Herculean effort" of making sure she got over the line.

"It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to appointed to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we have made it -- all of us," she said.

"And our children are telling me that they see now more than ever that, here in America, anything is possible."

Moment of real change

Jackson was green-lit by the Senate in a 53-47 vote that capped a bruising confirmation battle, with just three Republicans joining Democrats in advancing Biden's vision for a more diverse high court.

She was also with the president at the White House to watch the vote on Thursday, with the pair embracing as she was confirmed.

Introducing his first pick to the court, in front of a sun-drenched South Portico decked in US flags, Biden vowed future generations would be "proud of what we did" in choosing Jackson.

"This is going to let so much sunshine on so many young women, so many young Black men, so many minorities -- it's real," the Democratic president said.

"We're going to look back and see this is a moment of real change in American history."

Harris, who presided over the confirmation hearing, has broken down barriers of her own as the first woman and first Black and Asian American to be vice president.

"President George Washington once referred to America as a great experiment, a nation founded on the previously untested belief that the people -- we, the people -- could form a more perfect union," Harris said.

"And that belief has pushed our nation forward for generations and it is that belief that we reaffirmed yesterday through the confirmation of the first Black woman to the United States Supreme Court."


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