Ketanji Brown Jackson Exposes the GOP


Photograph courtesy of Lloyd DeGrane

Ketanji Brown Jackson speaking at an event. | Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The Republican party never ceases to amaze me with its audacity. Over the last several days, Biden’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, was subjected to a continuum of racist, disrespectful, and nonsensical immaturity. Over a series of several days, the Senate Republicans and the right-wing media apparatus have repeatedly attempted to smear Judge Jackson – to the point that the vitriol spilled over into the nomination hearings.

It was not too surprising that these hearings were so disruptive. Republicans are hoping to take the House and Senate with the midterms coming up, and they are expected to win, but with the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, the Biden administration has an opportunity to prevent the Republicans from expanding the right’s control over the Court. Though the significance of that control would be minimal, the idea of a Democrat controlling or otherwise influencing American jurisprudence is unacceptable to the GOP.

Especially if it allows Biden to fulfill a promise. After Biden promised to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, Republicans jumped on the idea that Biden only cared if the nominee was Black, ignoring the depth of experience that Judge Jackson brings to the table.

In fact, Republican pundits were hell-bent on selling the narrative that Biden did not care about the qualifications of his judges. FOX News host Tucker Carlson has consistently promoted that idea, and even after Judge Jackson was announced as the nominee, he still treated her nomination as a part of Biden’s supposed plan to “defile” the Supreme Court. It is worth noting that Carlson has previously been caught making racist and sexist comments, including about Iraqis, whom he called “semi-literate primitive monkeys.” Carlson never apologized for those comments. He would later go on to demand Judge Jackson’s LSAT scores to prove she was worthy of the Supreme Court seat.

Nor would this rhetoric end with Tucker Carlson. Charlie Kirk, a right-wing podcaster called Judge Jackson “what your country looks like on CRT [Critical Race Theory],” referred to her as “an ideological, unintelligent, yet confident fanatic.”

The Republicans in the Senate seemed to be caught up in this frenzy of racism and conspiracy theories. Josh Hawley claimed that Judge Jackson was soft on child predators, despite a litany of legal scholars and child protection organizations pointing out that her rulings were consistent with the discretion of other judges. The argument presented by Hawley is based upon the false premise that by ruling according to her own standards and not the federal probation standards, Judge Jackson has shown a gross sympathy for sexual predators. In fact, those standards have not been updated in years. To add to the indictment of the GOP, many of the quotes that the GOP has been using to attack Judge Brown were taken out of context. It did not matter that she served on the U.S. sentencing commission and stuck within the bounds of her discretion. It did not matter Lindsay Graham illegally questioned Jackson’s faith in a vain attempt to compare her to Kavanaugh, a man who was credibly accused of sexual assault. None of that mattered.

From the very beginning, Republicans had made up their minds about the nature of Biden’s nominee. They did not need to hear the name. Good faith has long been dead in the Republican party, but this series of absurd reactions somehow managed to kill it twice. They knew what they thought of Judge Jackson before she even walked into the room. Hopefully, they will have to face her by her well-deserved title, Justice Jackson.