Justice Sonya Sotomayor Officially Swears in Vice President Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris is now officially Vice President of the United States after taking her oath of office at today’s inauguration ceremony. She makes history as the first woman, and the first person of Black and South Asian descent to hold the position, after dozens of white men have sat in the role throughout the country’s history. But she wasn’t the only history-making figure at the swearing-in.

Standing opposite her on the steps of the Capitol Building, Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, the first Latinx judge to sit on the nation’s high court, helped the now-VP recite the solemn words. Harris chose the trailblazing justice for the job because she was inspired by her legacy and their shared background as former prosecutors, ABC News reported—Harris for California and Sotomayor for New York.

Vice President Harris chose to use two bibles for the ceremony, both of which have significant meanings for her. The first belonged to Regina Shelton, who acted like a second mother to the VP and her sister, Maya. Harris used the same bible when she swore in as California Attorney General, according to ABC. The second bible belonged to the late Thurgood Marshall, a former Supreme Court Justice and civil rights leader. In her memoir, Harris called Marshall one of her “greatest heroes.”

Sotomayor was appointed by President Obama in 2009, after serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for 11 years. This isn’t Justice Sotomayor’s first time swearing in a vice president—she helped President Joe Biden recite his oath in 2013. At the time, she became the first Latinx person to administer the administer an inaugural oath of office.

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