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Covering Kamala Harris Covering Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris to preside in Senate for historic Ketanji Brown Jackson vote

President Biden stands between Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House
Vice President Kamala Harris plans to preside over the Senate’s vote on Thursday to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, shown at her introduction by President Biden in February, to the Supreme Court.
(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

Vice President Kamala Harris plans to preside Thursday over the final vote in the Senate to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, an advisor said, meaning the first Black woman elected to national office will hold the gavel as the first Black female justice is elevated onto the nation’s highest court.

Harris has the constitutional right to lead the Senate but has only held the gavel to break 50-50 ties or to mark symbolic occasions.

Harris said on Friday in an interview on MSNBC that she “experienced great joy” as Jackson “cut through political gamesmanship” in her confirmation hearings. Harris, a former member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, built her political career as a lawyer, serving as San Francisco’s district attorney and California’s attorney general before she was elected to the Senate in 2016.

She and Jackson have spoken publicly about their admiration for Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman to serve as a federal judge, and other people of color who were legal pioneers.

Though Harris could have broken a tie in the evenly divided Senate, she will not have to. Brown has support of at least three Republican senators and is expected to win all 50 senators who align with Democrats.


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