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Tag: ketjani jackson

Senate Republicans Promised ‘Respectful’ Jackson Hearings — They Lied

Senate Republicans have spent the last several weeks promising to teach their Democratic colleagues how to fairly and respectfully treat a U.S. Supreme Court nominee chosen by a president of the opposite party. They have spent the first days of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation hearings doing exactly what they vowed not to do.

Justice Stephen Breyer announced his pending retirement in January. President Joe Biden named Jackson to replace Breyer, whom she clerked for, making Jackson the first Black woman to be nominated to the high court in U.S. history. Senate Republicans — still angry that some past GOP presidents' nominees had been opposed by Democratic senators over their extreme views and allegations of sexual predation — used the opportunity to relitigate 35 years' worth of grievances by promising to set a higher standard this time.

"The nominee, the Senate, the Court, and the American people all deserve a process that is free of the embarrassing antics that have become the Democratic Party's routine whenever a Republican president nominates a new Justice. The baseless smears. The shameless distortions," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on March 1.

"I'm going to listen to the hearings. And by the way, she'll be treated much better than Democrats typically treated Republican nominees like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh," the Kentucky Republican told CBS News on Sunday. "It will be a respectful, deep dive into her record, which I think is entirely appropriate for a lifetime appointment."

On Monday, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), also called for "a thorough, respectful process."

"We will conduct a thorough, exhaustive examination of Judge Jackson's record and views. We won't try to turn this into a spectacle based on alleged process fouls," he insisted.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) promised the hearings "won't be a circus."

"There won't be any questioning of where you go to church, what kind of groups you're in in church, how you decide to raise your kids, what you believe, and how you believe in God. Nobody's gonna do that to you. And that's a good thing," Graham vowed on Monday. "The one thing I can promise you: You will not be vilified, you will not be attacked for your religious views."

Those promises did not last very long.

On Tuesday morning, the Republican National Committee tweeted out a racist GIF with Jackson's initials replaced by the letters CRT, baselessly tying the widely respected appellate court judge to critical race theory, an academic framework used mainly in graduate schools to examine the history and structure of racism in the United States.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) focused not on her judicial record and views, but on asking her about critical race theory. He seized on her service on the board of a private school in Washington, D.C., that uses anti-racist books in its curriculum and went so far as to ask Jackson if she agreed with the idea that "babies are racist."

Days before the hearing, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) falsely accused Jackson of showing "a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker." Hawley used his time Tuesday to grill Jackson about child abuse cases before accusing her of an "alarming trend of lenient sentencing in child pornography cases."

Despite a constitutional prohibition against religious tests for public office and his own promises not to ask about her faith, Graham himself demanded that Jackson tell him her religious affiliation, questioned how often she attends church, and asked, "On a scale of one to 10, how faithful would you say you are, in terms of religion?"

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) pressed Jackson to praise the 1991 nomination of Justice Clarence Thomas, an archconservative who was accused of serial sexual harassment, as a "historic event" worthy of celebration.

Grassley and several GOP committee members also quizzed Jackson on her policy views — matters they previously said were off-limits, as the judiciary does not make legislative decisions.

Despite the GOP's attacks on Jackson, polls show the public strongly supports her confirmation to the nation's high court. A Gallup poll released Wednesday found that 58% of Americans believe the Senate should confirm Biden's pick. That is the second-highest level of initial support of any nominee in the poll's decadeslong history.

Ignoring his stated plan not to focus on "alleged process fouls," Grassley and his colleagues began Wednesday morning's hearing by complaining about the way Democrats had handled the first day of hearings.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) then complained about the "inappropriate" and "abhorrent" way Democratic senators treated Donald Trump-nominated Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett during their Senate confirmation hearings before claiming, "I'm so glad that, for the most part, we've behaved in an appropriate manner here."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

‘No Principles’ Grassley Roasted For Hypocritical Attack On Judge Jackson

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, the seven-term Republican senior Senator from Iowa, promised his side would not turn Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson‘s Supreme Court confirmation hearing Monday “into a spectacle,” yet proceeded to do just that.

Republicans are vastly opposed to Judge Jackson, who, as many have noted, is not just more qualified than every Supreme Court Justice currently on the bench was when they were nominated, but more qualified than at least three of them combined.

Grassley, 88, running for re-election this year, is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. On Monday he delivered his opening statement, using it to promote his fictitious judicial theories, saying outright that he will use the hearing to determine if Judge Jackson subscribes to originalism – which only right-wing judges do.

Originalism” was created in the 1980s to turn the country back to the days of its founding. The Constitution was written as a living document, to be interpreted over the ages and amended as necessary. Grassley and most Republicans support this made-up theory of originalism.

He is being widely attacked for that and many other remarks he made.

“Never has an endless lecture from an impossibly boring man of no principles been so intolerable to listen to,” said professor of international relations, political scientist, and journalist David Rothkopf as Grassley spoke.

He added:

“Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley have already turned today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into a spectacle. For them, it’s a Day of Festivus to air all their hypocritical grievances about the past,” said CNN’s Keith Boykin.

The Nation’s Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal observed: “Grassley says Democrats voted against nominees that were ‘diverse racially.’ This is a good time to remind you that Donald Trump’s nominees were 85% white and 75% male and he’s the only president to not appoint a black male judge since Nixon.
The GOP is obsessed with identity.”

More:

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

#Endorse This: Kimmel Rips Racist Republicans Over Jackson Hearings (VIDEO)

Republicans are always finding new ways to show they are intellectually and morally bankrupt cowards, playing to white nationalist rubes. So it's really no wonder that the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson have produced several moments of clownishness and not-so-subtle racist jabs.

On last night's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, host Jimmy Kimmel said that the hearings “give a number of our Republican senators a chance to compete in one of their favorite events: the subtle racism jamboree”.

Kimmel then called out South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham, saying that the politician “expects to be called racist at these hearings”. Afterwards, he shared a clip of Graham’s “interesting” speech at the hearings, in which he expressly stated that nobody is going to equate Judge Jackson to Bill Cosby like Justice Brett Kavanaugh was.

“Um thanks, I guess,” Kimmel responded. “I disagree, I actually think they should treat Ketanji Brown Jackson exactly like they treated Brett Kavanaugh. Interview every single person who’s accused her of sexual assault. Don’t stop, even though there are none. Do not stop.”

Judge Jackson will make history as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. Vice President Kamala Harris will be the deciding vote, therefore Democrats probably won't need any Republican support. However, that certainly won't stop the GOP caucus from spreading false equivalencies, outrageous lies, and racial jabs.

Watch the entire clip below:


Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

Josh Hawley’s Vile Attack On Judge Jackson Blasted From Left And Right

As the Senate prepares to hold the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to be nominated to serve on the Supreme Court, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has falsely claimed that she has argued that certain child pornography offenders are "less serious."

On Monday, writing for MSNBC, commentator Steve Benen observed how these attacks are quickly backfiring on him.

"The GOP senator’s line of attack did not go unnoticed, but fact-checkers quickly dismantled Hawley’s nonsense. The Associated Press said the senator’s claims 'don’t stand up to scrutiny.' Fact-check reports from the Washington Post and CNN came to the same conclusion," wrote Benen. "Others were even more direct in their denunciations. Vox’s Ian Millhiser described Hawley’s attempted smear 'genuinely nauseating.' In National Review, a leading conservative publication, Andrew McCarthy concluded that Hawley’s allegation 'appears meritless to the point of demagoguery.'"

All of this is beclowning not just Hawley but the entire Republican Party, Benen claimed, in light of GOP leadership's promise to be more high-minded than Democrats supposedly were with the sexual misconduct allegations against Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. "In reality, it’s rather easy to defend the ways in which Democratic senators handled the credible allegations surrounding Thomas and Kavanaugh. But putting that aside, the assurances about the GOP staying away from 'the gutter' and approaching Jackson’s nomination in a 'respectable' way look ridiculous in the wake of Sen. Josh Hawley’s attempted smear."

"But the fact remains that Senate GOP leaders have made no effort to follow Hawley’s lead; observers from the left, right, and center have been quick to shred his baseless smear; and by mainstream standards, Hawley’s attack backfired," concluded Benen. "The Missouri Republican meant to make Jackson look awful. He denigrated himself in the process."

You can read more here.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Difficult Balancing Act Of Ketanji Brown Jackson

In a brief mention in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden described his Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson as a “consensus builder” and touted her support from the Fraternal Order of Police, before moving on to other topics.

That was understandable in a time of war and division, overseas and closer to home. But that doesn’t mean that Jackson’s spot is guaranteed. As she makes the rounds this week, visiting with senators from both parties, it’s a reminder of the tightrope she must walk, the challenges she must overcome even as the rules in this high-stakes game keep changing.

As an African-American woman who has achieved much, she’s proved she is up to the task.

Understandably, many Black women in America celebrated when Biden fulfilled his campaign promise and nominated Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court. She would be the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court, though there have been many who were deserving, one of the most obvious being the first Black woman appointed to the federal bench, Constance Baker Motley, whose life and work are chronicled in the new book “Civil Rights Queen.”

Black women formed a strong part of the coalition that put Biden in the Oval Office and have been stalwart citizens throughout American history, on the forefront of human rights, civil rights and voting activism through icons such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Dorothy Height and Shirley Chisholm and so many others who never received the recognition they deserved.

I have a hunch that if former President Barack Obama had nominated Jackson, who reportedly was on his short list, instead of Merrick B. Garland to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the court, her almost-certain dis by Senate Republicans, led by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, would have triggered a groundswell that would have carried Hillary Clinton into the White House.

Jackson, then and now, would have to be prepared for whatever might come her way during confirmation hearings, set to start March 21 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She’s already been subjected to a grilling from Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn. During her hearing last year for her spot on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Cornyn asked: “What role does race play, Judge Jackson, in the kind of judge you have been and the kind of judge you will be?”

Instead of rolling her eyes and asking if he’d ever asked that of a white judge looking for his approval, Jackson calmly answered, “I don’t think that race plays a role in the kind of judge that I have been and that I would be in the way you asked that question.” She added: “I would say that my different professional background than many of the court of appeals judges, including my district court background, would bring value.”

Cornyn still voted against her.

If past is prologue, Jackson’s interrogation will resemble the treatment of Sonia Sotomayor — who was questioned on her temperament by South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, giving credence to anonymous quotes calling her “excitable” (translation, “hot-blooded”) — and not that of Amy Coney Barrett, who was gushed over as a “role model for little girls” by Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas.

And then there’s Brett M. Kavanaugh, who — in a performance that launched a thousand memes — did everything short of bursting a vein as he raged his way through his hearing but was never in danger of being labeled an “angry black woman.”

Work hard, study hard, go to an Ivy League school, and good things — like a Supreme Court seat — will come to you. Well, if you’re Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and almost every other judge on the Court.

In the case of Jackson, nominated to fill the seat of Stephen G. Breyer, the justice for whom she clerked, Graham dismisses Harvard and Harvard Law with a snarky comment that the “Harvard-Yale train to the Supreme Court continues to run unabated.” I do believe his votes have contributed to that train running for years.

But as many Black women have learned, those Ivy League bona fides, and more judicial experience than Roberts, Barrett, Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan had before they joined the court, won’t shield Jackson from the affirmative action label that’s already been tossed around.

What should be an asset — a background as a public defender and criminal defense attorney on a court pledged to treat all fairly — is framed as a liability by Republican lawmakers who should know that our justice system counts on the accused having representation. Is innocent until proven guilty still a thing? That’s something I might ask Sens. Cruz (Harvard Law), Josh Hawley (Yale Law) and John Kennedy (University of Virginia School of Law).

Isn’t following in the footsteps of the late icon Thurgood Marshall something to be admired? Jackson’s perceived balance might add needed perspective and burnish the reputation of a Supreme Court the American public increasingly sees as partisan.

Probably what’s most frustrating to many Black women watching this process play out so predictably is the flattening of Jackson as a complex and complete human being.

Njeri Mathis Rutledge, who, full disclosure, I know and work with, attended Harvard Law School with Jackson, and besides describing her as someone with “a next-level focus and drive” in a column in The Hill, wrote about Jackson as a person. “She had a big, beautiful smile and a joyful laugh. She was kind and down to earth. … Judge Jackson treats people with respect and is a good listener, which are crucial attributes to persuasion.”

All the warm and fuzzies that greeted adoptive mom Barrett during her elevation to the court may not be visited on someone at least as deserving and a role model for girls of all races, as well. I’d love to be proven wrong on that count.

Jackson has worked for justice, whether it’s by serving on a sentencing commission to reduce unfair disparities or being an advocate for those who truly needed her. Her own words, standing near the president who nominated her, give a hint to why she believes all that, and helping raise a lovely family, has been worthwhile.

After honoring Motley, with whom she shares a birthday, for “her steadfast and courageous commitment to equal justice under law,” Jackson said that, if confirmed, “I can only hope that my life and career, my love of this country and the Constitution, and my commitment to upholding the rule of law and the sacred principles upon which this great nation was founded will inspire future generations of Americans.”

While I cannot predict how her hearings will proceed, of one thing I am sure. Jackson will more than live up to the expectations many Americans are placing on her shoulders.

A lot of pressure? Yes. But this accomplished Black woman, relatable to many walking that same tightrope, is used to it.

Reprinted with permission from Roll Call