President Joe Biden celebrated the confirmation of incoming Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on Friday afternoon, saying she stood up to “verbal abuse” and “vile, baseless assertions and accusations” during her confirmation hearings.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking on the South Lawn of the White House, dedicated much of their time to celebrating the confirmation of the first Black woman on the court, but Biden also dwelled on how Republicans treated Jackson — the latest phase in a long-running, increasingly nasty battle between liberals and conservatives over control of the court.
“It was verbal abuse,” Biden said, referring to repeated GOP interruptions of Jackson and debunked allegations that she was lenient on pedophiles. “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.”
Jackson will replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the court later this year, a move that will not meaningfully shift the court’s 6-3 conservative majority.
Biden took care to note the bipartisan nature of her 53-47 confirmation vote, praising GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska as “women of integrity” and saying GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah was following in the footsteps of his father, who supported the civil rights movement.
But the majority of the celebration was dedicated to celebrating Jackson’s achievement and noting the step it represents in America’s journey to becoming a full multiracial democracy.
“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’ve made it. We’ve made it. All of us. All of us,” Jackson said during her speech, occasionally sounding as those she was holding back tears.
She added later: “In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Biden noted Jackson was likely to inspire multitudes of young women.
“This is going to let so much sun shine on so many young women, so many young Black women, so many minorities,” Biden said.