212 years after John Adams became the nation’s first vice president, Kamala Harris became the first woman and the first woman of color sworn into the office.
The history-making moment is a milestone for Americans who have fought tirelessly for generations to see faces that resemble their own in the government’s executive branch.
But Ms. Harris’s role in the new administration will be much more than a symbolic one.
With the Senate now split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, Ms. Harris may find herself casting the decisive vote in many crucial moments, as the vice president wields tiebreaking power. Ambitious legislation on the coronavirus, the economy, climate change and other policy matters will be high on President Biden’s agenda, and her vote may prove critical. One of her first official acts in her new role will be to swear in three new Democratic senators.
Across the country, women are wearing pearls on Wednesday to mark the occasion, a nod to the signature pearls that Ms. Harris has worn throughout major milestones in her life, and she wore it again as she was sworn in for her history-making turn as the first female vice president.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who as the first woman of color to serve on the Supreme Court has broken barriers of her own, administered the oath.