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New Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson inspires Bay Area court-watchers

CBS SF Bay Area logo CBS SF Bay Area 7/1/2022 Andria Borba

SAN FRANCISCO – After taking her constitutional and judicial oaths, Ketanji Brown Jackson became the 116th Supreme Court Justice and the first Black woman to sit on that bench.

Amira Barger watched the swearing in with her 9-year-old daughter Audrey.

"The perspective and the lived experience of someone like Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is needed. So, I am proud, I am elated - quite honestly pretty emotional. It was a lot to get to this point," Barger told KPIX5.

It's the first time Black women have seen themselves reflected and represented in the highest court in the land. It was even more personal for Amira and Audrey - who's mixed race family looks like much like Justice Jackson's.

It's an experience Amira couldn't fathom at Audrey's age, "It would have been not a thought or a possibility. When I was 9 the injustices and the lack of representation were even more stark."


Video: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson becomes first Black woman on Supreme Court (CBS SF Bay Area)

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Amira and Audrey also watched Justice Jackson's contentious confirmation hearings together. "I was really happy for her that she like powered through all of the discouraging moments - especially Ted Cruz," said 9 year old Audrey.

"After all those moments of her being interrupted and boxed in and called out - to see her rise above was really special and to watch that with Audrey," Amira said.

Margaret Russell is a constitutional law professor at Santa Clara University. She calls Thursday's swearing in inspirational to all generations.

"I think it is just immeasurable and certainly to little girls, little Black girls, but everybody actually because that is a representation that we have not seen. I have utter confidence in the abilities and the temperament that she will use to carry it out."

For Amira, Justice Jackson's swearing in is yet another glass ceiling shattered and a moment for Audrey and all Black women, marginalized for so long, to build upon.

"We've been left outside of rooms - knocking on the door, trying to knock it down and I want her to know that those are options for her to walk into any room she wants to. She belongs in every room she's in," Amira said.

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