Point of View Columns

In the Matter of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson – Continued

It was not necessary to consult with the legendary seer, Negrodamus, to predict what the Senate Supreme Court Justice confirmation of hearings regarding the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson would be like. It was beyond predictable – it was inevitable.

After the rehearsed formalities and the transparently fake promise of fairness, the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee went to work like paupers at a banquet. There were the seemingly obligatory references to critical race theory, an academic discipline that has nothing to do with teaching white children to hate themselves. But literacy and common sense are not in the Republican tool kit.

Somehow, it made sense for Judge Jackson to be asked about the Dred Scott decision of 1857. The irony escaped Republican Gang Who Couldn’t Think Straight. That is because the Dred Scott decision was a classic example of the institutionalized nature of white supremacy at that time, holding that Black people could not have the right of citizenship whether enslaved or free. Asking the first Black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court was simply an abomination.

Ted Cruz (aka CancunTed) continues to prove that there is no bottom to the cesspool of misinformation and veiled racism that is his habitat. Asking Judge Jackson if babies could be racist – a twisted application of the much-abused critical race theory – actually brought a moment of exasperation in Judge Jackson’s otherwise composed demeanor.

While she had to be prepared for dog whistle racism given the composition of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it took Ted Cruz to make it clear that no outrageous and convoluted interpretation of the legitimate concerns of Black people in this country was out of bounds. And, of course, Cruz intended for her to get so exasperated she might actually provide a sequel to the Bret Kavanaugh meltdown in a prior confirmation hearing.

Sorry Ted.

But that did not stop other Republicans from questioning her work as a defense attorney as if (1) a person accused of a crime is automatically guilty and (2) that the provision in the Sixth Amendment that requires that defendants in criminal cases be provided with counsel is really just a suggestion and not one that should be taken seriously by truly good Americans.

Judge Jackson was questioned on her defense of accused 9/11 terrorists at Guantanamo Bay was an indication of her tacit support for terrorists. Somehow Senator Grassley seemed to forget that Judge Jackson was working in the federal public defender’s office and was assigned to the case – in other words she was doing her job.

But, of course, these Republicans are building a house of cards and lies to provide some gossamer covering for the fact that they are simply not going to vote for a Black woman to be on the Supreme Court unless she is an intellectual of Clarence Thomas.

One can only hope that the Democrats can keep it together along with a few Republicans with some sense of decency so that Judge Jackson will be Justice Jackson in time for the fall term.

No one ever said it was going to be easy.

But no one ever said it was going to be this hard.

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