Apr 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Harris tells Black Senate Dems to pen letter to young Black women

Kamala.
Vice President Kamala Harris. Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris gave an assignment to the Senate’s two Black Democrats as she presided over the vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court: write a letter to a young Black woman in your life.

Why it matters: The encounter underscores the personal significance of the moment for Harris, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus — many of whom also were present for Thursday's historic vote.

  • By a tally of 53-47, Jackson was confirmed be the first Black female justice in the court’s history, as well as its first former public defender.

Driving the news: As members waited for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to vote, Harris could be seen huddling with Booker and Warnock.

  • She took out two pieces of stationery stamped with the vice presidential seal and handed them to Booker and Warnock. They both carefully tucked them away.
  • “I thought it was a beautiful gesture,” Booker later told reporters when asked about the exchange.
  • His spokesperson told Axios the senator has written the letter but is going to sit on it for a while before deciding to whom it should be delivered.

Between the lines: Though Harris presided over the confirmation, no Black woman had the opportunity to vote for the nominee.

  • Of the 100 senators, only 11 lawmakers identify as either Hispanic American, Asian American or Black.
  • None of the Black members is female, and there was no need for Harris — who serves as president of the Senate — to cast a tie-breaking vote.

What's next: The vice president is expected to join Jackson and President Biden on Friday for an event at the White House celebrating the confirmation.

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