Senator Booker moves Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson to tears during emotional speech

"You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American," said Sen. Cory Booker to Judge Jackson, who stands to become the first Black woman Supreme Court justice.

Sen. Cory Booker and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
(Photo: Getty Images)

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was moved to tears during a stirring speech delivered by Senator Cory Booker on Day 3 of Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

During his 20-minute allotted time to question Judge Jackson on the final day of the nominee’s Q&A portion of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Booker chose instead to praise Jackson after a series of contentious questioning from Republican Senators.

As previously reported by theGrio, Jackson had been assailed by Republicans about a range of issues from her sentencing record on child pornography cases to her association with a private school in Washington, D.C. that Sen. Ted Cruz implied taught “critical race theory.” Other Republican members on the committee like Sen. Lindsey Graham even suggested that Judge Jackson was the nominee as a result of “dark money” from far-left advocacy groups.

“I’m not letting anybody in the Senate steal my joy,” said Booker, the only Black Senator on the committee’s 22-member panel. “I just look at you and I start getting full of emotion.”

The New Jersey Senator went on to tell a story about going out for a run earlier in the day and being approached by a Black woman who shared what it meant to see Jackson during her confirmation hearing to become the Supreme Court’s first Black woman justice.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson greets Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“The look in her eyes…she just wanted to touch me I think because I’m sitting so close to you and tell me what it meant to her to watch you sitting where you’re sitting,” Booker shared. “You did not get there because of some left-wing agenda. You didn’t get here because of some dark money groups. You got here how every Black woman in America who’s gotten anywhere.”

An emotional Judge Jackson eventually reached for tissue and proceeded to wipe tears from her eyes. Senator Booker was also brought to tears during the exchange.

Booker slammed his Republican colleagues’ treatment of Judge Jackson, which some outside the committee have outright called racist. “What they’re bringing up…that just doesn’t hold water,” he said.

Senator Booker then shared another story about when he was first elected to the U.S. Senate and being the only sitting Black senator in the upper chamber. A Black man who worked in the Capitol building, he said, approached the senator and said to him, “I’m so happy you’re here.”

“He comes up [and] he can’t get the words out and this man, my elder, starts crying. And I just hugged him, and he just kept telling me, it’s so good to see you here,” Booker recalled.

Speaking directly to Jackson, Booker continued, “I want to tell you when I look at you this is why I get emotional — and I’m sorry, you’re a person that is so much more than your race and gender…but for me, I’m sorry, it’s hard for me not to look at you and not see my mom…I see my ancestors and yours.”

He added, “Nobody’s gonna steal the joy of that woman in the street or the calls that I’m getting or the texts. Nobody’s gonna steal that joy. You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American.”

Going back to harsh criticisms from Republicans, Booker said, “You faced insults here that were shocking to me — well, actually not shocking.” He made clear to Judge Jackson that despite that criticism, “You’re here, and I know what it’s taken for you to sit in that seat.”

“You are my harbinger of hope,” he added. “This country is getting better and better and better.”

While listening to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) speak, Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s eyes fill with tears during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 23, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“When that final vote happens and you are sent onto the highest court in the land, I’m going to rejoice… and the greatest country in the world, the United States of America will be better because of you.”

In a recent exclusive interview with theGrio, Congressman Mondaire Jones, who attended Judge Jackson’s alma mater Harvard Law School, said he believes Jackson “will bring a much-needed new perspective to the Supreme Court.”

He, too, admonished Republicans for their condemnation of Judge Jackson and her record.

“[They] have no credible arguments against confirming her…they cannot attack her qualifications, her temperament, her integrity, her brilliance. That’s why we are seeing these red herrings and other distractions play out. And I think the American people who support her confirmation by, I think two-thirds, are not going for these distractions.”

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