Georgians help mark Jackson’s confirmation at White House celebration

Georgia lawmakers in audience celebrate a historic moment

WASHINGTON — As she waited for the beginning of the White House celebration of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, Atlanta’s former mayor fired up a livestream on her Instagram account.

Keisha Lance Bottoms panned her cellphone to show state Reps. Calvin Smyre and Billy Mitchell smiling in the background.

“We are celebrating the confirmation of our soon-to-be justice,” she told her viewers, noting the band was playing an Aretha Franklin song when she first arrived. “It is a beautiful day to be in Washington, D.C.”

U.S. Reps. Nikema Williams and Lucy McBath were also among the Georgia lawmakers in the audience of about 400 people. Others with Georgia ties included Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown.

They stood and applauded as Jackson’s family arrived, then President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the soon-to-be justice herself. During her speech, Jackson spoke about being overwhelmed with the national attention but also thankful for the family, friends, mentors and strangers who encouraged her during a grueling confirmation process.

She spoke with pride about opening a door for others in generations to come.

“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we’ve made it,” Jackson said as the crowd cheered.

Smyre said he received a call Thursday after the Senate voted 53-47 to confirm Jackson to become the nation’s first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Smyre, who is waiting to begin his own confirmation process as the ambassador-appointee to the Dominican Republic, hastily booked a flight.

There was no way he was missing a chance to mark history, the Columbus Democrat said.

“What a great day for the United States,” Smyre said. “A historic day and a defining moment in history. It speaks volumes. Such an honor to witness personally.”