US President Joe Biden on Friday celebrated the appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first African-American woman appointed to the Supreme Court.
“America is a nation that can be defined in a single word,” said Biden in a speech at the White House. “In one word: possibilities… anything is possible”
Jackson was confirmed following a 53-47 vote in the Senate on Thursday, which included three votes from Republican Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney.
Biden acknowledged Jackson’s “painful and difficult confirmation process” during the Senate hearings, which turned ugly at times.
“What Judge Jackson was put through was well beyond that,” said Biden. "There was verbal abuse: the anger, the constant interruptions, the most vile, baseless assertions and accusations."
“In the face of it all, Judge Jackson showed the incredible character and integrity she possesses,” he added.
Filling a potential Supreme Court vacancy with an African-American woman was one of Biden’s major campaign promises during the 2020 Presidential race.
“When I made the commitment to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, I could see this day,” said Biden. “When I decided to run, this was one of the first decisions I made… I could see it as a day of hope, a day of promise, a day of progress.”
“It is the greatest honor of my life to be here with you at this moment,” Jackson said as the president handed the podium over to her.
A total of 115 justices have served on the Supreme Court since it was established in 1789. 108 of them have been white men.
“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,” said Jackson. “But we’ve made it… here in America, anything is possible.”
Born in Washington, DC and raised in Miami, Florida, Jackson graduated from Harvard Law School and was appointed as a federal judge by former President Barack Obama.
Jackson will succeed Justice Stephen Breyer, who will retire from the nine-member Supreme Court panel this summer.
“I am just the very lucky first inheritor of the dream of liberty and justice for all,” said Jackson. “I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”