When she takes the oath of office at her swearing-in ceremony Wednesday, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will use a Bible previously owned by the first black member of the Supreme Court, the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, whom she has described as one of her “greatest heroes.”
Harris will use two Bibles in the ceremony, one belonging to Regina Shelton, a family friend whom Harris viewed as a surrogate mother, and the other that Justice Marshall once owned, NPR reported, citing a transition official.
Last July, Harris tweeted, “My childhood hero and inspiration, Thurgood Marshall, was born on this day in 1908. Our nation is stronger because of his powerful voice for civil rights and social justice.”
In her memoir, The Truths We Hold, Harris wrote, “Some of my greatest heroes were lawyers: Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston, Constance Baker Motley—giants of the civil rights movement. I cared a lot about fairness, and I saw the law as a tool that can help make things fair.”
She also wrote about going to the same school for her matriculation as Marshall did, which was Howard University: "I wanted to get off on the right foot. And what better place to do that, I thought, than at Thurgood Marshall’s alma mater?”
While taking the oath of office as both California attorney general and a U.S. senator, Harris had used Shelton's Bible.
She'll be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third female justice in U.S. Supreme Court history. Both Harris and Justice Sotomayor have served as prosecutors in California and New York, respectively.
In 2013, Sotomayor swore in President-elect Joe Biden as vice president.
Harris, who identifies as Baptist, will be the first black, South Asian and female vice president of the United States.
Abortion rights activists have praised Harris as a “reproductive freedom champion,” but she has faced criticism from social conservatives over her ties to abortion giant Planned Parenthood and her prosecution of pro-life activist and citizen journalist David Daleiden of the Center of Medical Progress.
Daleiden and his associate, Sandra Merritt, were prosecuted in 2016 over a series of undercover videos a year earlier that showed Planned Parenthood employees discussing the illegal sale of aborted baby body parts.