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“From segregation to the Supreme Court”: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson delivers emotional confirmation speech

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On Thursday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson made history as the first Black woman to be nominated and confirmed as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. From the South Lawn of the White House on Friday, Jackson tearfully delivered remarks about her new role, calling the history-making event “the greatest honor” of her life.

Flanked by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who kicked off the confirmation ceremony, the 51-year-old Washington, D.C., judge stood tall in front of an audience of family members, current and former Supreme Court justices, and members of Congress. She started off by thanking the people who were instrumental throughout her decades-long political journey– from her jurist mentors, to her husband and two daughters, God, and the civil-rights activists that paved the way for her historic achievement.

“I’m standing on the shoulders of my own role models, generations of Americans who never had anything close to this kind of opportunity, but who got up every day and went to work believing in the promise of America,” she said. “I am also ever buoyed by the leadership of generations past who helped to light the way: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Justice Thurgood Marshall, and my personal heroine, Judge Constance Baker Motley.”

She referenced her grandparents, who were only afforded a grade school education, as well as her parents, who “went to racially segregated schools growing up and were the first in their families to have the chance to go to college.”

“No one does this on their own. The path was cleared for me so that I might rise to this occasion,” she said.

Reflecting on her family’s groundbreaking trajectory, the soon-to-be justice said, “It took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court.”

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