Ketanaji Brown Jackson’s Confirmation Highlights Growing Political Divide in America
Ketanji Brown Jackson just became the first black female Supreme Court Justice, third black Justice, and the sixth women to serve on the Supreme Court; she truly is making history in many respects, but potentially she could be the last Democratic appointed Justice for a while. The reason this is so because of past history, comments, and actions made by senate Republicans.
Last week Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY, while taking questions from reporters on the topic of how a Republican Majority would handle a Biden Supreme Court nominee, said, “What I can tell you for sure, if House and Senate are Republican next year, the president will finally be the moderate he campaigned as.”
However this may be near impossible with the increased hyper-politicization of the current political environment.
During her confirmation hearings Senate Republicans on the Judiciary committee went to ugly lengths to try and sink Biden’s judicial nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson or KBJ as she will be referred to as for most of this article. Senate Republicans looked deep into asking her about her sentencing record with child pornography cases and Critical Race Theory (CRT).
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) literally asked her “In your understanding, what does critical race theory mean?” KBJ replied calmly and with a judicious answer by saying, “Senator, my understanding is that critical race theory is, it is an academic theory, that is about the ways in which race interacts with various institutions,’ Jackson responded. “It doesn’t come up in my work as a judge. It’s never something that I’ve studied or relied on, and it wouldn’t be something that I would rely on if I was on the Supreme Court.”
Even with that answer she did not get Cruz’s support, but that is not surprising. With the 2024 Presidential Election set to heat up even further after the 2022 midterms, Cruz is one of the top contenders in the GOP Primary, as former Speaker of the House and fellow Republican John Boehner described Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh”.
I do not mean to levy an insult against a United States Senator, but the shenanigans he and many of his fellow Senate colleagues showcased during the Confirmation hearing were disgraceful to say the least. It is one thing to vote against a nominee due to Ideological differences however voting against one for your own political self-gain is something that must be called out.
Some of other not so honorable mentions come from Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and another 2024 Presidential contender Josh Hawley (R-MO) who asked her about her sentencing in Child Pornography cases and what he thought were light sentences and accusing her of letting sex offenders “of the hook”.
KBJ who was the former Vice Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission answered by saying “These are some of the most difficult cases that a judge has to deal with because we’re talking about pictures of sex abuse of children,” she said. “We’re talking about graphic descriptions that judges have to read and consider when they decide how to sentence in these cases.”
She also further defended her actions by stating “I looked at the law and the facts,” she said. “I made sure that the victims, the children’s perspectives, were represented, and I also imposed prison terms and significant supervision and other restrictions on these defendants.”
With Senators Marsha Blackburn and Lindsey Graham, their antics should not be forgotten. Senator Blackburn asked KBJ to define what a women is, which is redundant question. Lindsey Graham who voted for KBJ during her confirmation to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, just showed how spineless he is.
Lindsey Graham is also the perfect example of how the Republican party has shifted to the extreme and conspiracy embracing right. During his early and mid tenure of being a Senator he was known as a moderate in the Senate, voting for both of Obama’s Supreme Court Nominees and being known as a Bipartisan senator, being part of the Gang of 8 for example, a group of four Republicans and four Democrats who set off to try and find a middle path on the immigration question.
However now Graham has really shifted rightwards during his tenure, showcasing the Rightward turn of the GOP. This Rightward turn will not be good for the nation. Remember the Tea Party and how the gridlocked Congress was, this current class of Q-Anon republicans make the Tea Party look like amateurs. This current “breed” of Republican is becoming more and more common, with Representatives in the House who quite literally believe Democrats are Satan worshiping, baby eating monsters. How do we expect our Government to work if much of the opposition thinks the other side is the embodiment of pure evil?
To add further to this, during the Electoral College Vote in Congress, 69% of Republicans and in total 147 out of 213 Republicans voted to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election. How do we expect a Republican controlled Congress to work with President Biden if over half the Republican Caucus voted on the record to essentially say , we do not believe you to be the legitimate President of the United States of America.
Kentanji Brown Jackson, unfortunately helped further expose the dark underbelly and critical state of the American political environment. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed to the Court, she coasted to the Court with a 96-3 vote, KBJ on the other hand did not get that, having a 53-47 vote tally for her confirmation to the court.
This further politicization of the Court will do no good for the Nation. It was distasteful of the Senate Republicans to grill her in that way. Let this be a reminder for those who are voting this November, if the polls are right we will see more Republicans just like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and so on. For Republicans I urge you to vote for candidates that are willing to work across the aisle on a number of issues so we can have working Government. For Democrats, I urge you not to despair, make sure you turn out to vote, turnout means the world with these things and do not be afraid to vote for a moderate Republican, because the more of them that we can vote for and get elected, the better chances we have to defeat the far right of our nation.