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