Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is now officially the former U.S. senator from California, after resigning from her seat on Monday, two days before her swearing-in as the No. 2 official in the executive branch.
“Today, as I resign from the Senate, I am preparing to take an oath that would have me preside over it,” Harris wrote in a farewell post to the citizens of her state before handing in her resignation paperwork on Monday.
“As Senator-turned-Vice-President Walter Mondale once pointed out, the vice presidency is the only office in our government that ‘belongs to both the executive branch and the legislative branch.’ A responsibility made greater with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate,” she added.
During this time of national crisis and political rancor, Harris is transitioning into a far more important role in the upper chamber than she ever occupied as a representative of California — she has the tiebreaking vote in a Democrat-controlled Senate deadlocked at 50-50 with Republicans.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, a fellow Democrat, will appoint a successor to Harris, who was elected in 2016. Newsom said last month that he intended to tap Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, for the seat. Padilla’s Senate term will expire in 2022, and he could seek reelection.
Harris continued to attend Senate sessions after her November election, and was in the Capitol for the certification of the election results this month when the building was stormed by a violent mob of Trump supporters.
Harris will be sworn in as vice president on Wednesday by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a ceremony in which the first woman of color to become vice president will take her oath from the first woman of color to sit on the Supreme Court.
Harris chose Sotomayor for the task, according to a Harris aide who was confirming a report by ABC News. The vice president-elect and Sotomayor have a shared background as former prosecutors. And Harris has called the justice a figure of national inspiration.
“Judge Sonia Sotomayor has fought for the voices of the people ever since her first case voting against corporations in Citizens United,” Harris wrote on Twitter in 2019. “As a critical voice on the bench, she’s showing all our children what’s possible.”
Sotomayor, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2009, swore in Joe Biden for his second term as vice president in January 2013 (first in a private ceremony and again in public the next day because of a quirk of the calendar).