Since 1902

Kenyan leaders react to approval of black woman to US high court

U.S. President Joe Biden pumps his fists as Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation as the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. [Reuters]


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was yesterday confirmed to the United States Supreme Court, making her the first black woman to ascend to the pinnacle of the nation’s highest court, in what her supporters lauded as a moment of joy and a much-needed leap toward reflecting new diversity to the court.

“Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation,” captioned US President Joe Biden, alongside a picture of himself with Judge Jackson after following the proceedings on TV. 

“We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her.”

Kamala Harris, the current and first woman Vice President of the US, oversaw the vote. Speaking to reporters after the vote, VP Harris, who is also black, said, “I’m overjoyed, deeply moved.

“There’s so much about what’s happening in the world now that is presenting some of the worst of this moment and human behaviors. And then we have a moment like this.”

Locally, Kenyan leaders took to social media to celebrate the confirmation. 

Chief Justice Martha Koome tweeted a heartfelt message saying, “I celebrate the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. I deeply recognize that when barriers fall, societies become stronger. I wish Judge Ketanji a very successful tenure on the court.”

Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege said, “Congratulations to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for being confirmed today as the US Supreme Court’s first black female Justice after a historic Senate vote!! It’s our time as women to excel, to shine and to make our mark in our spheres of influence!!”

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika commented, “Historic as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson becomes the first black woman confirmed to the #SCOTUS in its 233-year history! Well-deserved and a long time coming! More women at the decision-making table is the way to go! Another glass ceiling shattered.”

While Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu shared her enthusiasm saying, “History takes another crack at the proverbial glass ceiling as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is confirmed as Justice of the US Supreme Court. The first ever Black woman to be elevated to the pinnacle of the Judicial branch. What an uplifting and inspiring moment for the girl child!”

Lawyer Donald Kipkorir, despite getting Judge Jackson’s age wrong, congratulated her, stating “A lifetime tenure in the world’s most powerful Court. Justice Jackson will serve in the Court beyond 2067!”

Judge Jackson overcame a concerted effort by Republicans to mar her record and sabotage her nomination, by winning on a 53-to-47 bipartisan vote, with three Republicans voting in her favour alongside all 50 members of the Democratic party.

At 51 years old, Judge Jackson boasts of two degrees from Harvard University. As Justice in waiting, she is set to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer who will retire at the end of the US Supreme court’s current session mid this year.

Judge Jackson’s supporters further applauded the win, with Cory Booker, an African American member of the Senate Judiciary Committee saying, “Like many Americans, I feel immense pride and so much joy at this historic occasion.

“As Judge Jackson ascends to the United States supreme court, I see in her the affirmation of our ancestors who suffered the indignities of this country yet sacrificed to bend the moral arc of our nation towards justice.”

Pramila Jayapal, US chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus echoed the sentiments saying, “This is truly a joyful day for the country. Judge Jackson is one of the most experienced nominees in decades.”

“Today is one of the brightest lights. Let us hope it’s a metaphor, an indication of many bright lights to come,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat, and majority leader said. “How many millions of kids in generations past could have benefited from such a role model?”

The moment was described as of enormous consequence to the US and to history, but as expected, critics had their say too.

Mr Addison McConnel, a Republican who previously served as the Senate minority leader of the US felt that the Biden administration was letting extremists take control.

“When it came to one of the most consequential decisions a president can make, a lifetime appointment to our highest court, the Biden administration let the radicals run the show.

“The far-left got the reckless inflationary spending they wanted. The far left has gotten the insecure border they wanted. And today, the far left will get the Supreme Court justice they wanted,” he said.

Judge Jackson’s ratification was an achievement for President Biden, who had promised during his 2020 campaign that he would appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court.