Ketanji Brown Jackson celebrated her appointment to the US supreme court at a White House event on Friday, after becoming the first Black woman to be appointed to the nation’s highest judicial bench.
In her first remarks after her confirmation to the court, Jackson was keen to draw parallels between her story and the progress of racial equality in the US in general.
She said, ‘We have come a long way toward perfecting our union. In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States’.
With those words, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson acknowledged both the struggles and progress of Black Americans in her lifetime.
“I have now achieved something far beyond anything my grandparents could have possibly ever imagined,” Jackson said, noting they had gained only grade-school educations before starting their family and later sending their children to racially segregated schools.
“The path was cleared for me, so that I might rise to this occasion,” she said. “And in the poetic words of Dr. Maya Angelou, I do so now.”
Quoting Angelou’s famous poem, “And Still I Rise,” Jackson added: “I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”
During her confirmation process, Jackson faced rigorous and sometimes fractious moments, as republican senators cast doubt on her suitability for the role. Some said she was ‘soft’ on crime.
However, three Republican senators crossed party lines to vote to confirm Jackson, leading to an overall senate vote of 53-47 for her appointment.