Kamala Harris to be sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor

The 58-year-old vice president-elect was inspired by Justice Sotomayor's background, ABC News reported

Kamala Harris
Harris has chosen to be sworn in using two Bibles

Kamala Harris, who will script history as the first female, first Black and first South Asian US vice president on Wednesday (January 20), will be sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic justice in the US Supreme Court.

The 58-year-old vice president-elect was inspired by Justice Sotomayor’s background, ABC News reported, ahead of the presidential inauguration event on January 20.

They have both previously served as former prosecutors — Harris in California, Sotomayor in New York. Sotomayor, 66, is third female justice in US Supreme Court history.

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During her victory speech, Harris weaved in an adage from her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who often told her she would be the first to do many things, but urged her to open doors for others.

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” said Harris in November.

Also read: ‘Mom’s the word’ as Kamala Harris talks about her influence

For the historic day, Harris has chosen to be sworn in using two Bibles. One previously belonged to Regina Shelton, who was like a second mother to Harris and her sister Maya. Harris and Maya often visited Shelton’s house after school while their mother was still at work as a breast cancer researcher. Shelton lived two doors down from Harris’ home. Harris used Shelton’s Bible to take the oath of office to be attorney general of California and later to become a United States senator, CNN reported.

The second Bible that Harris will take her oath of office belongs to Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights icon and the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court, her aide said.

Harris has often said that Marshall was one of the inspirations for her legal career and has described him as a “childhood hero of mine.” The vice president-elect said in a video posted on Twitter in July, “Thurgood Marshall and the work that he did is … really one of the main reasons I wanted to be a lawyer. Thurgood was a fighter, he was a boxer in the courtroom.”

Also read: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

Harris was born in Oakland, California, in 1964. Her mother, Shyamala, who immigrated to the US from Chennai, died of cancer in 2009. Harris father, Donald, is a Jamaican American professor of economics. President-elect Joe Biden and Harris will take their oaths of office on the West Front of the US Capitol during a significantly scaled-down event on January 20.

Authorities are bracing for more violence ahead of the inauguration after supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed and breached the US Capitol on January 6 in an unprecedented riot that left five people, including a police officer, dead.

The National Park Service has announced that the National Mall will be closed to the general public on Inauguration Day due to security concerns.

Asked about the safety concerns taking the oath outside, Harris told NPR in an interview: “I think we cannot yield to those who would try and make us afraid of who we are.”


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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