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Black first vice president chairs vote confirming first black female Supreme Court justice

WASHINGTON — The Senate made history Thursday by confirming Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman on the Supreme Court, a long-awaited moment that delighted Jackson supporters and many black Americans.

The historic moment was made even sweeter by the fact that Vice President Kamala Harris, the first black woman to hold office, presided over Jackson’s confirmation vote.

Harris cracked a big smile as he read the tally aloud from the dais after each senator cast his vote from his seat, a rare event reserved for back-to-back moments. The Vice President also serves as the President of the Senate and can preside over votes whenever he chooses.

“On this vote, the yeses are 53, the noes are 47, and this nomination is confirmed,” Harris said moments before a loud, sustained round of applause broke out in the chamber.

Democrats could barely contain themselves as they celebrated Jackson’s confirmation on Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) hailed him as a “joyful, memorable, [and] revolutionary day. A giddy Sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.) was all smiles as he presided over an earlier vote cutting off debate on Jackson’s nomination, his voice echoing through the chamber.

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), whose surprise victory in Georgia’s 2021 Senate election runoff helped Democrats gain control of the chamber and made Jackson’s confirmation possible, also took minutes to mark Jackson’s confirmation in a floor speech Thursday.

“Yes, I am a senator. I am a pastor. But beyond all that, I am the father of a young black girl,” Warnock noted Thursday before the confirmation vote.

“I know how much it means for Judge Jackson to have to navigate the double jeopardy of racism and sexism to stand now in the glory of this moment, with all her excellence,” he added.

“For my 5-year-old daughter and for so many young women in our country — but really, if we think rightly, for all of us — to see Justice Jackson ascend to the Supreme Court reflects the promise of progress on which our democracy is built,” Warnock said.

Harris spoke to reporters after the vote, calling Jackson’s confirmation “a very important statement about who we aspire to be, who we are and who we believe we are.”

She added: “I am very proud. I’m very proud.”

Arthur Delaney contributed reporting.

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