Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson continue. Highlights include racist dogwhistles from notable Republican Senators such as Ted Cruz.
The idea of subtly is not a word within the Republicans’ dictionary. At least not when it comes to Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing.
From Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Monday lecturing about the “so-called white privilege” not existing in America. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) continued on Tuesday, grilling Jackson about an anti-racist children’s book, Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracist Baby. The book is not even included in the school’s list of anti-racism resources.
“Do you agree with this book that is being taught with kids that babies are racist?” Cruz asked in front of a blown-up poster of one of the book’s pages.
Jackson paused for several seconds before answering. “I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist, or as though they are not valued, or as though they are less than,… that they are victims, that they are oppressors. I don’t believe in any of that. I have not reviewed any of those books, any of those ideas. They don’t come up in my work as a judge, which I am respectfully here to address.”
This book never argued that babies are racist, anyway. Instead, it is simply a colorful tool for parents to teach children how to be anti-racist. Though very well aware of this, Cruz and other Republicans feel a need to find ways to slander Jackson. The GOP zeroed in on her position on the Georgetown Day School board as a Black woman. On Tuesday afternoon, the party tweeted a GIF replacing “KBJ” with “CRT,” next to an image of Jackson’s face.
Only two days have gone by but Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearings have devolved into a series of racist dog whistles.
Confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson began on Monday. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were more than a little concerned about President Biden’s choice to replace the former justice, targeting the first female African-American nominee on issues of race and white privilege.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) took center stage lecturing Jackson that white privilege does not exist in America. This in spite of multiple studies that have proven its existence. 114 justices have been confirmed Supreme Court justices, but only two are Black and one Latina.
“You serve on the board of a school that teaches, kindergartners, five-year-old children, that they can choose their gender and that teaches them about so-called white privilege,” Blackburn said.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell stated this past Sunday that he hasn’t decided on if he will vote to confirm Jackson. McConnell stated that he was troubled by her refusal to object to expanding the nine-justice court.
McConnell (R-Ky.) said he met with Jackson in his Capitol Hill office last week and asked if she’d oppose expanding the court. “She wouldn’t do that. So, in the meantime, the committee will ask her all the tough questions. I haven’t made a final decision as to how I’m going to vote,” McConnell said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
“I’m going to listen to the evidence, I’m going to listen to the hearings, and by the way she’ll be treated much better than Democrats have typically treated Republican nominees like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh,” he then added on. “It’ll be a respectful, deep dive into her record which I think is entirely appropriate for a lifetime appointment.”
The Republican leader then made note of how Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, whom Jackson would replace if she is confirmed, have objected to packing the court as some Democrats have suggested.
“Typically, these Supreme Court nominees of both parties have never answered any of the questions. What they typically say is that, ‘Something might come before me and I don’t want to prejudge how I might actually vote,’” explained McConnell, who had voted against Jackson’s nomination to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in June 2021.
Jackson’s confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee continues through Thursday.
Hearings for the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson began on March 21.
Judge Brown has been confirmed by the Senate three times. Hence, Democrats won’t be relying on Republican buy-in to complete her journey to the Supreme Court, as they only need a simple majority to confirm her. However, if Democrats are unified in this 50-50 Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris could be the vote to break the tie.
Meanwhile, Jackson may be asked if she will recuse herself from one of the first major cases she would be hearing as a justice – a challenge to Harvard University’s use of race as a factor in undergraduate admissions.
Jackson is an alumnus of Harvard University and Harvard Law School. She currently sits on the university’s Board of Overseers. According to the website, the Board members “provide counsel to the University’s leadership on priorities, plans, and strategic initiatives.”
This fall, the justices are expected to hear a challenge to the school’s admissions policy brought by a group of Asian-American students. The students allege they were illegally targeted and rejected at a disproportionately higher rate because of their race. Decisions regarding this case could determine the fate of affirmative action policies nationwide.
On Friday, February 25, 2022, in the midst of worldwide attention on the upheaval in the Ukraine, President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to make history as the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.
As he introduced Jackson to the White House, he stated, “Today, as we watch freedom and liberty under attack abroad, I’m here to fulfill my responsibilities under the Constitution, to preserve freedom and liberty here in the United States of America. For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America. I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications, and that we inspire all young people to believe that they can one day serve their country at the highest level.”
51-year-old Ketanji Jackson currently sits on DC’s federal court of appeals, and is considered a front-runner for the vacant sit.
While Democrats praised the qualifications of Biden’s choice, Republicans sought to criticize her educational background, record on crime and the support she holds from left-wing groups. However, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who ironically voted for Jackson to serve as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit eight months ago, appeared to be against her nomination, saying in a tweet that “the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again.”
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