Former senator sworn by Justice Sonia Sotomayor using two Bibles from the late Thurgood Marshall and family friend Regina SheltonBiden inauguration – live updates Kamala Harris arrives with her husband, Doug Emhoff, at the US Capitol on 20 January. Photograph: Win McNamee/picture alliance/Consolidated News Photos Kamala Harris has been sworn in as vice-president, becoming the first woman in American history – as well as the first woman of African American and south Asian descent – to hold the post. The former California senator was sworn in by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the supreme court. Harris chose to be sworn in using two Bibles, one from the late Thurgood Marshall the first Black supreme court justice, and one from Regina Shelton, a close family friend who was something like a surrogate mother for Harris and her sister when they were growing up. “Ready to serve,” Harris tweeted from her new vice-presidential Twitter account shortly after being sworn in. Ready to serve.— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) January 20, 2021 Harris’s inauguration marks a major moment in American history. Women have run on presidential tickets as would-be vice-presidents but until Joe Biden’s win, none were victorious. Wearing a face mask, Harris was escorted through the Capitol by United States Eugene Goodman, the African American Capitol police officer who was hailed as a hero for helping to distract rioters from invading the Senate floor during the attack on the Capitol earlier this month. As the newly sworn-in vice-president left the Capitol, she mingled with attendees and gave a hug to former president Barack Obama. Harris’s elevation fulfills a major a goal of Biden’s presidential arc: to install people of color and women in powerful positions in his administration, oftentimes where historically only white men have been. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who offered introductory remarks ahead of Harris taking the oath of office, noted that Harris “stands on the shoulders of so many on this platform”. Klobuchar added that with Harris as vice-president, “little girls and little boys across the world will know that anything and everything is possible. And in the end, that is America.” Harris spoke with the now former vice-president, Mike Pence, earlier this week and Pence left a note in the vice-president’s office for his successor. Pence sat feet away from Harris as she took the oath of office. Madam Vice President Kamala Devi Harris!!!— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 20, 2021 VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS pic.twitter.com/yhN5ZjJfM5— Mike Nellis (@MikeNellis) January 20, 2021 Harris’s congressional and California colleagues, as well as fellow college alumnae, hailed her new job. Democrat Karen Carter Peterson, a Louisiana state senator running for Congress and fellow Howard University alumna tweeted “Madam Vice President”. Madam Vice President Harris! @HowardU #BisonProud #BidenHarrisInauguration @TheDemocrats— KarenCarterPeterson (@TeamKCP) January 20, 2021 “In many folks’ lifetimes, we experienced a segregated United States,” said Lateefah Simon, a civil rights advocate and longtime Harris friend and mentee. “You will now have a Black woman who will walk into the White House not as a guest but as a second in command of the free world.” Gavin Newsom, the governor of California and sometime Democratic rival to Harris, said “history made”. History made.Congratulations, MADAME VICE PRESIDENT.We are so, so proud of you. pic.twitter.com/gJav471W8K— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 20, 2021 Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio noted the momentous nature of Harris’s new position for Americans and especially young Black people. “American workers will finally have someone on their side in the White House, and millions of girls – especially Black and brown girls – all over the country are seeing that there is no limit to their dreams, and they belong in every room where decisions are made,” Brown said in a statement. Oprah Winfrey said she was in tears over Harris. In tears watching this extraordinary moment for women in the U.S. and the world. Vice President @KamalaHarris 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/nwsokkD3cY— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) January 20, 2021 Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, also offered felicitations. Congratulations to @KamalaHarris on being sworn-in as @VP. It is a historic occasion. Looking forward to interacting with her to make India-USA relations more robust. The India-USA partnership is beneficial for our planet.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 20, 2021 Republicans offered cautious greetings to Harris and the new Biden administration. Congratulations to President @JoeBiden and VP @KamalaHarris. I’m glad to have joined in the peaceful transition of power today. I look forward to working with the Biden administration when it is good for Montana and will vigorously push back when necessary.— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) January 20, 2021 Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Black Republican in the Senate, said Wednesday marked a peaceful transition of power. He did not mention Harris directly. Today we witnessed a central tenet of American democracy: the peaceful transition of power. We are one nation under God, and it is time for all of us to unite as one American family. (1/2)— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) January 20, 2021 Brandon Davis, a veteran Democratic political strategist who runs a firm specializing in vending for Black candidates, said Harris “will likely have a larger profile given the historic nature and her high profile, but she will be able to learn and strengthen her personal politics from a key position.” It “will be interesting to see how she tacks her politics on issues of race, particularly criminal justice reform, and how she builds a record on the economy,” Davis added in an email. “No matter what, she is a HUGE player in the Democratic Party / Left for the next decade.” Governor Phil Scott of Vermont, a Republican and one of the most popular governors in the country, issued a statement extending “my sincere congratulations and best wishes to the president and vice-president on their swearing-in to lead our nation.” “The challenges we face are great: confronting a global pandemic and its economic fallout; strengthening America’s position in the world and our alliances; combating systemic racism; addressing climate change; building a stronger and more diverse economy that reduces economic inequality for all Americans in every community; and so much more,” Scott said. Even as she became vice-president, Harris’s portfolio remains unclear. Biden and Harris have described their ideal relationship as similar to that between Biden and Barack Obama when the latter was president. Biden was to be the last voice in the room on any major decision. But that dynamic will not be perfectly replicated. Biden spent decades in the Senate while Harris was in her first term when she first ran unsuccessfully for president and then was selected as Biden’s running mate. Unlike recent vice-presidents, though, Harris is expected to often play a deciding role in the Senate because of the 50-50 split. Harris will reside at the Naval Observatory, the traditional home of the sitting vice-president. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, will join her there and become the first man married to a vice-president. He will be referred to as the second gentleman. Harris, a lawyer by trade, is the former attorney general from California. She attended Howard University in Washington DC for her undergraduate degree and often references her time there when talking about her history. Harris becomes vice-president with a relatively new team in her office. Her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, was not a member of her campaign staff. Harris’s chief spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, also a woman of color, served as a top adviser to Biden throughout his successful presidential campaign. Sanders began traveling with Harris near the end of the campaign and stayed on with Harris through the transition.