When President Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the highest court of the land, he may have thought that this historic nomination would ruffle the fewest feathers in the divided Senate. After all, the Senate has confirmed Judge Jackson three times before. She was confirmed to the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2009. She received bipartisan support for her appointment to the District of Columbia Circuit Court in 2013 and unanimous support for her appointment to the District of Columbia District Court in 2021.
What a joke!
Proving conclusively that they are not here to govern, but merely to keep getting reelected on the backs of whoever will support them, Republicans went down a Q-Anon designed path in their ridiculous lines of questioning towards a talented jurist who many of them supported, approved of, and voted for not that long ago.
Here’s a sample of some of the questions put to Judge Brown Jackson by Republican senators:
- Do you think we should catch more murderers or fewer murderers? (Sen. Tom Cotton)
- Judge Kavanaugh was ambushed (by the Democrats). How would you feel if we did that to you? (Sen. Lindsey Graham)
- Why isn’t it rational to sentence someone with more (pornographic) images on their computer as opposed to someone with one or two? (Sen. Josh Hawley)
- You serve on the board of a school that teaches five-year-olds about white privilege. Do you think judges must consider Critical Race Theory while determining sentencing for defendants? (Sen. Marsha Blackburn)
- Is it your personal hidden agenda to incorporate Critical Race Theory into our legal system? (Sen. Marsha Blackburn)
- Do you agree with this book that teaches that babies are racist? (Sen. Ted Cruz)
The only silver lining from these proceedings was to observe the composure of Judge Jackson as she patiently replied to these inanities.
While Supreme Court nominations are traditionally contentious affairs, this line of questioning by Senators who were complicit in the events on January 6, 2021 (and yet unpunished for that!) clearly demonstrates that the intent of the GOP is to use every opportunity to project conspiracy theories of a fringe element of American society that is frighteningly gaining traction in our political system .
However, notwithstanding the shameful and hypocritical treatment of Judge Jackson, these public hearings give us a peek into the lines of attack on Democrats that Republicans have no compunctions about using and that they believe will return them to power in the midterms namely – pedophilia, critical race theory, Democrats being soft on crime, and White victimhood. These theories were successfully deployed by Trump in his first run for office and later by candidates in state races, and unless we are very vigilant, will continue to make inroads into the minds of voters who are primed by social media to reject nuance and react to sound bites.
The historic nomination of Judge Jackson will go through despite these vile attacks, only because Democrats have a majority in the Senate thanks to Vice President Harris. But these last few days have been a wake-up call to all of us to work extra hard to combat Republican messaging to ensure the Senate remains in Democrat hands in the fall. If we can gain a few seats, we can ensure that the next Supreme Court nominee is also in our hands, something that we can say, without hyperbole, will determine the fate of American democracy.