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Kamala Harris makes history

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Justice Amy Coney Barrett hears a big oil case despite ties to Shell, Greece’s president thanks an Olympian for coming forward about abuse, and it’s Inauguration Day in the U.S. Have a historic Wednesday.

– First, not last. Today is Inauguration Day, the day Joe Biden goes from President-elect to just plain old President of the United State—and the day Kamala Harris officially becomes the country’s first-ever female vice president.

For those of you watching the Inauguration from home, Claire had a good recap yesterday of some of the women who will be featured in today’s events. For a broader rundown of the day, check out this FAQ on the festivities, which are expected to kick off around 11 a.m. ET.

With everything going on in the country (and wider world), it’s easy to lose track of just what a historic moment this is for the U.S. The United States is approaching its 250th birthday. That’s almost two and a half centuries of men occupying the two most powerful jobs in the nation. For Harris—a Black, South Asian-American woman—to finally break that streak and become the highest-ranking woman in the history of U.S. government is something worth celebrating at a time when very little seems to clear that bar. So far, that celebration looks like everything from cheers in the Indian village of Thulasendrapuram, which claims Harris as a descendant; to women across the U.S. donning pearls today just like Harris has during her highest-profile political moments.

At this stage, it’s impossible to know what forces will ultimately shape and define Harris’s time in the job, but one thing we can be certain of is that her role as the tie-breaking vote in the Senate will be critical—especially given massive list of legislative priorities the Biden-Harris administration has already laid out.

Emma has a new piece for Fortune this morning that looks at how Harris’s tie-breaking vote fits into the history of 50-50 Senate splits and investigates the ways that responsibility may impact the role she plays in the administration. (For instance, it’s likely that her travel will be curtailed somewhat during periods when big votes are expected at the Capitol.) Read it in full here.

Today will be a busy day. We all have a lot to do—and so does the country. But I hope you will find a moment to appreciate this milestone, and to think about what it portends. As Harris said on the day the election was called: “While I may be the first woman in this office. I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”

Kristen Bellstrom

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

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