Confirmation Hearing Or Political Circus?

Who could have seen it coming, eh?  Yesterday was day #2 of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.  She answered questions for the better part of twelve hours … heck, five minutes of talking does me in.  I have no doubt that Ms. Jackson wished, on more than one occasion, that she could fire back at some of the questions she was asked, but to her credit, she proceeded with dignity and respect, only letting out the occasional sigh to indicate a bit of frustration.

Barring some dramatic revelation that I cannot foresee, I strongly believe that Ms. Jackson will, indeed, become the next Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.  I even think a few of the more … shall we say ‘honest’ Republicans … will vote to confirm her … perhaps Senator Collins of Maine, Senator Murkowski of Alaska, and Senator Romney of Utah.  Others are likely to vote ‘Nay’ for a number of stated reasons, but the main reason being that Judge Jackson has two strikes against her:  she is Black, and she is a woman.  Period.

I did not watch the 12-hour confirmation hearing … I really haven’t got either the time or the patience … but I have read numerous accounts of the questions and answers from the day.  The first one to come to my attention was, unsurprisingly, from Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.  Among Blackburn’s false or distorted accusations, she …

  • linked Jackson to the controversy over transgender athletes and women’s sports
  • suggested Jackson would trample parental rights
  • accused Jackson of wanting to put dangerous criminals on the street
  • accused Jackson of saying every judge has a hidden agenda
  • said Jackson praised the 1619 Project
  • said Jackson thinks judges must use ‘critical race theory’ when sentencing criminals

Blackburn went so far as to suggest to Jackson, a Black woman, that white privilege doesn’t exist in America, a country where of the 114 justices to have been confirmed to sit on the highest court in the land, only two have been Black.  She also asked Judge Jackson to “define the word ‘woman’”.  When Jackson told her she couldn’t, at least “Not in this context. I’m not a biologist,” Blackburn responded with acidity … “The meaning of the word woman is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?”  Sigh.  Seriously, is this what we’re paying our lawmakers to do?

And then there was good ol’ Ted Cruz, never one to mince words, or even to attempt to make his words sensible. Noting that the judge is a board member of her kids’ private school Georgetown Day, the senator began pulling out books, including Antiracist Baby, in order to claim the school is definitely teaching CRT. “There are portions of this book that I find really quite remarkable. One portion of the book says babies are taught to be racist or anti-racist,” Cruz bellowed, displaying an enlarged page from the book. “Do you agree with this book that is being taught with kids that babies are racist?”  Her response …

“I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or though they are not valued or though they are less-than. That they are victims. That they are oppressors.”

 She also noted that her understanding was that “critical race theory is an academic theory is taught in law schools.”

I’m not sure what got into Lindsey Graham … I seriously believe that man has some mental issues!  In the middle of his questioning Judge Jackson, he asked … “What faith are you, by the way?”  Say WHAT???  Since when is religion a qualifier for a seat on the bench???

Then Lindsey began berating Judge Jackson for defending detainees at Guantanamo Bay back in her days as a public defender.  He went on a verbal diatribe, spouting …

“We’re at war, we’re not fighting crime! This is not some passage of time event. As long as they’re dangerous, I hope they all die in jail if they’re going to go back to kill Americans. It won’t bother me one bit if 39 of them die in prison. That’s a better outcome than letting them go and if it cost $500 million to keep them in jail, keep them in jail because they’ll go back to the fight. Look at the freaking Afghan government made up of former detainees at Gitmo. This whole thing by the left about this war ain’t working!”

And then he stormed out of the hearings without waiting for a response.

John Cornyn, who I typically think of as one of the less toxic Republicans in the Senate, questioned Judge Jackson about her stance on LGBTQ rights, claiming that granting equal rights to LGBTQ people conflicts with the religious beliefs of some people. To which Jackson responded, “Well, senator, that is the nature of a right. That when there is a right, it means that there are limitations on regulation, even if people are regulating pursuant to their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

From everything I’ve read and the video clips I have seen, it appears that Judge Jackson handled herself well through the entire ordeal … far better than I would have in similar circumstances!  It’s just too damn bad that the confirmation of a Justice who will serve on the highest court in the nation for life has been turned into a political circus in recent years.  The Supreme Court are the people who will make the decisions we have to live by.  They will decide if women have the right to control their own bodies, whether LGBTQ people should have certain unalienable rights, whether a single religion will force us all into a small, airless box, and whether we have the right to vote.  And yet … the Republicans in Congress seem to care more about the colour of a potential justice’s skin and about her gender.

Note to readers:  This just in from the New York Times“Conservatives are pressuring Senator Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat, to oppose Judge Ketanji Brwn Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.”  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

43 thoughts on “Confirmation Hearing Or Political Circus?

  1. Pingback: Who Won The Week — 03/27/22 – This, That, and The Other

    • Well … it seems to be becoming that way, but if you look back at judicial confirmations 15-20 years ago, it was not like this. Most Justices until recently were confirmed almost unanimously.

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  2. Ms Jackson is the only rational sane one in a room full of lunatics. She shouldn’t have to put up with such blatant abuse, responding calmly and with dignity. I hope she’s confirmed, we need a person like that on the supreme court.

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  3. I got so VERY tired, annoyed with Lindsey Graham’s and Ted Ruse’s 😉 escapades and crashing of their loud useless cymbal-crashing the entire time. I’m pleased that Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee (D) Dick Durbin, FINALLY began gaveling these incessant morons! Every single answer—even though Jackson was constantly interrupted by these imbeciles—she gave was spot-on and stoic. She remained stoically ice-cold cool. BRAVO Ketanji, BRAVO Ma’am! 👏🏻

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  4. I am going to put on my optimist hat and predict that Judge Jackson will get the support of all 50 Democrats and one or two Republicans. If I’m wrong, I’ll eat my hat, which is made of cotton (candy).

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    • I seem to have lost my optimist hat in the last 5-6 years, but I agree with you on this one. I think she will be confirmed, though likely by a narrow margin. I think there are a few Republicans who still have some values (though you couldn’t prove it when it came to voting rights legislation!) and that she will be seated on the Court. I’ll help you eat your hat (since mine is lost) if we’re both wrong.

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  5. a political circus with various ringmasters and circus clowns in attendance. Unfortunately i don’t give much for her chances at the end, the REPUBS seem dead against her and with Manchin and probably Sinema on their side it doesn’t seem to bode well for her.

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    • You’re right, and much of it is the senators posturing for their base in the upcoming election. I do think, though, that Judge Jackson will ultimately be confirmed by the Senate. I doubt Manchin or Sinema will be swayed on this one, and even if they are, I think there will be a trickle of Republican votes in favour of Jackson. Time will tell, I suppose.
      Cwtch

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  6. Pingback: CONFIRMATION HEARING OR POLITICAL CIRCUS. |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

    • You know … that’s a good question! I never asked that one before … we are all just used to the idea that the president nominates judges & justices, and the Senate confirms (or denies) them. Hmmmmmm ….

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      • Contrast the system in the US to the system in NZ where judicial appointments are kept as far away from politics a posible. I guess we have one advantage in that the head of state is not the head of government and is apolitical.

        Judicial appointments are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General.

        For appointments to the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court, the Governor-General is advised by the Attorney-General who, by convention, receives advice from the Chief Justice and the Solicitor-General. For appointments to the District Court, the Governor-General is advised by the Attorney-General who receives advice from the Chief District Court Judge and the Secretary for Justice.

        Although judicial appointments are made by the Executive, it is a strong constitutional convention in New Zealand that, in deciding who is to be appointed, the Attorney-General acts independently of party political considerations. Judges are appointed according to their qualifications, personal qualities, and relevant experience. The convention is that the Attorney-General mentions appointments at Cabinet after they have been determined. The appointments are not discussed or approved by Cabinet.

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        • Your system makes a great deal of sense! Ours used to work fairly well, with most Justices until the last decade or so being confirmed with a strong bi-partisan majority. And then, bi-partisanship died a slow and painful death in this country, brought on by racism (the election of a Black president) and xenophobia (massive immigration from the Middle East and Central/South America). Now, the confirmation process has turned into something akin to a campaign rally with senators vying to be the most racist, homophobic, misogynist for the enjoyment of their rabid base. Sigh.

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      • The Senate confirms the President’s nominee as per Article II section 2 of the Constitution.
        There wouldn’t be such grandstanding if the hearings weren’t televised. Television just gives clowns like Cruz to play to the base.

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        • That’s a good point too! There was a time when members of Congress put their duty to country first, but of late, they put party ahead of country, and that’s where the trouble begins. But yes, allowing them to turn it into a media circus … we all want to see it, feel that we have a right to see it, but then the politicos use it for their own personal stage with impunity. No good solutions that I can see, other than electing members of Congress who follow their conscience, not a party and not the $$$$$$$$$$.

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  7. Good article, Jill. I must take issue with one statement, however. You wrote, “Judge Jackson has two strikes against her: she is Black, and she is a woman. Period.” I’d add one more: She’s open-minded. Anyone who doesn’t at least claim to hold to a very narrow version of what it means to be a “good Christian American” is to be rejected.

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    • Thanks, Jerry!!! And you are right about that third strike … however, had I said she had three strikes against her, that would have meant … “Three strikes, YER OUT!” and I didn’t like that idea! But yes, today’s Republicans as a whole are very much afraid of anyone who is open-minded, who thinks for themselves, who strives to do the right thing. Sigh.

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  8. The confirmation hearings of Ketanji Brown Jackson appear to be a political theater for several of the GOP inquisitors as they perform for their respective audiences to further their own political goals. “Politics is the art of achieving political goals – of achieving what is possible in a given situation – that is, in a situation that has its conditions and limits. Politics and ethics belong to two different worlds.” – Adam Michnik. Your cast of characters lend credence to his words. WHAK!! Thank-you!

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    • You are exactly right … they are using it as free advertising to show their base just how ‘tough’ they are. There is nothing ethical about some of these senators, such as Cruz, Hawley, Blackburn and even Graham. In fact, if asked to define ‘ethics’, I doubt most of them could do so. Sigh. WHAK!!!

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  9. I doubt any Reprobates are listening to anything she says, unless they can turn it against her. Most, like Graham, are just there to be in the spotlight. Any attention is good attention, no matter how ridiculous the reason for it.
    Good luck to Ms Jackson, although she may not think so as long as she has to deal with Trump appointees!
    I still say, find a way to dissolve the Supreme Court! Trump would have found a way if he had to…

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    • It’s almost as if rather than attempting to determine if she’s a qualified judge, if she’s fair and honest, they are attempting to entrap her. And yes, many of them are using this as a publicity opportunity to show their constituents how “tough” they are. I think Jackson will be confirmed, but as you say, she may by now be wishing she had not accepted the nomination!

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    • I think that it is more a show, putting those Republican senators in the spotlight so their rabid base can see how they are “protecting” their “virtues”! After all, election day isn’t all that far off, is it?

      Yes, it appears that Jackson has managed to keep her cool … far better than I could have. And I do think she’ll ultimately be confirmed … if I were here, though, I think I would have said, “You know what? It isn’t worth all of this … take your job and shove it.” She’s a far better person than I am.

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