Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) brought himself — and Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson — to tears on Wednesday as he broke into an animated explanation of just how much her nomination meant to him.
Booker used a portion of his time during Jackson’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to wax on about the historic nature of her nomination, excitedly telling her, “I’m not letting anybody in the Senate steal my joy!”
"This country is getting better and better…When that final vote happens and you ascend onto the highest Court in the land, I'm going to rejoice. And I'm going to tell you right now, the greatest country in the world, the United States of America, will be better because of you." pic.twitter.com/HLT3WnH3LU
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 24, 2022
“I’m telling you right now,” Booker began, “I’m not letting anybody in the Senate steal my joy! I told you this at the beginning, I — I’m embarrassed … I just look at you, and I start getting full of emotion.”
The New Jersey Senator went on to tell a story about going for a run, saying that a black woman had approached him — in part, he believed, because of the role he would have in confirming Judge Jackson.
“I put my music on loud when I’m jogging, trying to block out the noise of the heart attack I’m having,” Booker said, prompting laughs. “And this woman comes up on me, practically tackles me, an African American woman. And the look on her eye, she just wanted to touch me, ’cause I think — ’cause I’m sitting so close to you — and tell me what it meant to her to watch you sitting where you’re sitting.”
Booker then touted Judge Jackson’s hard work and dedication, saying that she hadn’t achieved all she had because of a “Left-wing agenda” — and Jackson reached for her tissues.
“You got here how every black woman in America who’s gotten anywhere has done,” Booker continued, his voice cracking at times. “By being — like Ginger Rogers said, ‘I did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards in heels.’ And so I’m just sitting here saying, ‘Nobody’s stealing my joy, nobody’s going to make me angry.'”
Booker then mentioned how he was treated when he arrived at the Capitol, being only the fourth black Senator in Washington. His voice wavered again when he explained the moment in the Oval Office when he tried to explain to President Joe Biden how much it affected him personally to see the first black woman nominated to the nation’s highest court.
“It’s hard for me not to look at you and not see my mom. Not to see my cousins, one of them who had to come here and sit behind you. She had to have your back. I see my ancestors and yours,” Booker said. “But don’t worry, my sister. Don’t worry. God has got you. And how do I know that? You’re here, and I know what it’s taken for you to sit in that seat.”
“You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American,” he added, in an apparent jab and critics who panned Biden for making Jackson’s race and gender requirements for her nomination.
“This country is getting better and better,” Booker concluded. “When that final vote happens and you ascend onto the highest Court in the land, I’m going to rejoice. And I’m going to tell you right now, the greatest country in the world, the United States of America, will be better because of you.”