Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson spoke of the responsibility she will have as the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court, while also paying homage to those who paved the path for her along the way.
“I am feeling up to the task, primarily because I know that I am not alone. I am 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 during remarks at the White House on Friday.
“My grandparents on both sides, who had only a grade school education but instilled in my parents the importance of learning. To my parents who went to racially segregated schools growing up and were the first in their families to have the chance to go to college," Jackson said.
As her emotional address continued, the soon-to-be Supreme Court justice noted other specific figures who have had an influence on her career.
“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,” Jackson said. “They and so many others did the heavy lifting that made this day possible. ... I think of them as the true path-breakers.”
Jackson quoted one of the nation’s most gifted and heralded writers.
“No one does this on their own. The path was cleared for me so that I might rise to this occasion,” she said.
“In the poetic words of Dr. Maya Angelou, ‘I do so now while bringing the gifts my ancestors gave. I am the dream and the hope of the slave.’”