Jackson marks her historic confirmation with a moving speech: ‘We’ve made it. All of us’

“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. But we did it. We did it. All of us,” Jackson said standing. alongside President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Jackson continued, “And our children tell me that they see now more than ever that anything is possible here in America. They also tell me that I am a role model, which I take as an opportunity and as a great responsibility.”

“I feel up to the task, mainly because I know I’m not alone,” Jackson said. “I stand on the shoulders of my own role models, generations of Americans who never had anything like this kind of opportunity, but who got up every day and went to work believing in America’s promise. Showing others to through his determination and, yes, his perseverance that very, very good things can be done in this great country.”

The judge quoted the late poet Maya Angelou as saying, “I do so now as I bring the gifts my ancestors gave me. I am the slave’s dream and hope.”

Jackson called his confirmation to the nation’s highest court something “every American can be proud of,” and said the United States “has come a long way toward perfecting our union.”

Biden welcomed Jackson’s confirmation, saying, “This will allow so much… the sun to shine on so many young women, so many young Black women, so many minorities. That’s real.”

He continued: “Nothing to do with me, we’re going to look back and see this as a moment of real change in American history.”

The president said, “It’s a powerful thing when people can see themselves in each other,” adding that the belief was “one of the reasons I believe so strongly that we needed a court that looks like America.”

Biden said Jackson endured “verbal abuse” during her Senate confirmation hearings and praised her for her “balance and composure” in the face of attacks from Republicans.

“The anger, the constant interruptions, the vilest and most baseless claims and accusations. In the face of it all, Judge Jackson showed the incredible character and integrity she possesses. Balance. Balance and composure. Patience and restraint. And yes, perseverance. and even joy,” Biden said.

Biden thanked the three Republicans who voted with Democrats for Jackon’s confirmation: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The vote count was 53-47 in the Senate.

“They deserve enormous credit for setting aside partisanship and making a carefully considered judgment based on the judge’s character, qualifications and independence,” Biden said, naming the three senators.

The vice president said that while presiding over the Senate confirmation vote on Thursday, she wrote a note to her goddaughter.

“I told him I felt a deep sense of pride and joy and what this moment means for our nation and for its future,” Harris said. “And I’ll tell you, her tresses are a bit longer than yours, but when I wrote to her, I told her what I knew this would mean for her life and all that she has in terms of potential.”

Harris said: “The path to our most perfect union is not always straight and 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 progress is made.” And that the journey, well, will always be worth it.”

The Senate confirmed Jackson on Thursday in a vote that paves the way for her to become the first black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. Jackson’s confirmation is a major bipartisan victory for Democrats that comes at a time when the US faces a host of challenges at home and abroad, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine and soaring inflation.

One of those challenges, the Covid-19 pandemic, loomed over the celebration event.

Harris was a close contact after her communications director tested positive for Covid-19 this week. A White House official said the vice president would not wear a mask at the outdoor event and instead would remain “distanced” from others.

Current recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specify that a person who is considered a close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should wear a mask around others for 10 days afterward. from the date of last contact. The guidelines do not say that person can be without a mask with other people if she is practicing social distancing.

The event comes days after two members of Biden’s cabinet, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, announced they had tested positive for COVID-19. Several high-profile Washington figures, including lawmakers and other White House staff and administration, have also tested positive after attending the annual Gridiron dinner.

The dinner brings together some of the city’s most prominent journalists, including those from CNN, and the government officials they cover. Attendees had their vaccination status checked, but a negative Covid-19 test was not required to enter.

In September 2020, an event at the White House in which President Donald Trump announced his choice to nominate then-Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court was ultimately called a coronavirus superspreading event by public health experts. At least a dozen people who attended the Rose Garden event, including Trump, confirmed that they had contracted Covid-19 shortly after attending. Vaccines for Covid-19 were not yet available and would be authorized months later.

At the time, the well-attended ceremony in which public health guidelines were flouted and many went maskless and social distancing went largely unnoticed underscored the White House’s mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis. of Trump. Trump had suggested in conversations with advisers that masked and socially distanced events would project weakness against the pandemic and could contradict his claims that the outbreak was “just around the corner.”

White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told CNN’s John Berman on Friday that the country is in a “very different place” in the pandemic than it was when Trump hosted the White House event for Barrett.

“Certainly, we have seen an increase in cases. We know that the BA.2 variant is highly transmissible. We are taking many, many precautions. We take precautions to ensure the president is protected,” Bedingfield said on CNN’s “New Day.” “

She continued: “But I do think it’s important to keep in mind that, you know, I may test positive for covid at some point. And we’re in a very different place than we were, for example, when they held that event.” for Judge Barrett. Which means we have vaccines, we have treatments. The president is vaccinated and double-boosted, and therefore protected against severe covid.”

The president interacted Wednesday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has since tested positive for COVID-19. The two were seen side by side at a bill signing event. The White House has said that Biden was not considered a close contact of Pelosi. The White House also said that the president tested negative Friday morning as part of regularly scheduled tests and that Biden will continue to be tested regularly.

The CDC, which has changed its guidance on various parts of the pandemic response multiple times over the past two years, currently says that people generally don’t need to wear masks when outdoors. The CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with others.

Jackson will be officially sworn in at the Supreme Court after Justice Stephen Breyer retires sometime this summer. Until then, he will remain in his current position on the US Court of Appeals, a White House official told CNN.

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