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SCOTUS Sonia Sotomayor to swear in Kamala Harris in historic first for women of color

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in tomorrow by Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a historic first for women of color. The news that Sotomayor would have a role in Wednesday’s inaugural ceremony came at the end of last week.  

A historical moment for women of color

The ceremony will make history as Harris becomes the first woman of color to become vice president and will take her oath from the first woman of color to sit on the Supreme Court.

Ms. Harris chose Justice Sotomayor for the task, calling the justice a figure of national inspiration.

“Judge Sonia Sotomayor has fought for the voices of the people ever since her first case voting against corporations in Citizens United,” Harris wrote on Twitter in 2019. “As a critical voice on the bench, she’s showing all our children what’s possible.”

Justice Sotomayor, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2009, also swore in Joseph R. Biden Jr. for his second term as vice president in January 2013.

You might be interested: SCOTUS Justice Sotomayor Leadership Award from Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Harris reflected on the moment that she’ll take the oath of office as vice president in a recent interview with NPR saying, “I will be thinking about my mother, who’s looking down from heaven. I will be thinking of all the people who are counting on us to lead.”

Additionally, Harris has chosen to be sworn in using two bibles. One previously belonged to Mrs. Regina Shelton, who was like a second mother to Harris while the other belonged to the late civil rights leader and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who has been an inspiration to Harris throughout her career. 

Kamala says goodbye to California

first woman of color

United States Senate, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As Harris prepares to take office as vice president, she says goodbye to her seat as California Senator. Harris, who was also the first Black woman to serve as a senator for the Golden State, won her seat in November 2016 and was sworn in January 2017. At the time, Harris was California’s attorney general. 

Harris formally resigned as California Senator yesterday, but she assures Americans that her work is not done since she will preside over the chamber once she is sworn as the first female, first Black, and first South Asian woman vice president of the United States.

“And this is not goodbye. As I resign from the Senate, I am preparing to take an oath that would have me preside over it,” Harris wrote in an op-ed piece for the San Francisco Chronicle. “As senator-turned-Vice-President Walter Mondale once pointed out, the vice presidency is the only office in our government that ‘belongs to both the executive branch and the legislative branch.’ A responsibility made greater with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.”

However, Harris hopes she will not have to use her power as a tie breaker too often. 

“Since our nation’s founding, only 268 tie-breaking votes have been cast by a Vice President. I intend to work tirelessly as your Vice President, including, if necessary, fulfilling this Constitutional duty,” she wrote.

“At the same time, it is my hope that rather than come to the point of a tie, the Senate will instead find common ground and do the work of the American people.”

Kamala Harris will be sworn in at tomorrow’s inauguration ceremony in Washington D.C. It will be a historic first for women of color but Harris promises that, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.”