Table Of Contents
  1. Corey Booker’s Passionate Speech
  2. Graham On The Attack Again
  3. Graham on the Attack
  4. Babies? Racist?
  5. White Privilege Isn’t Real?
  6. McConnell: Undecided
  7. Tough Questioning
  8. Judge Ketanji Brown’s Harvard Connections Questioned
  9. History Set In Motion
  10. Republicans and White Supremacy vs Kentanji Brown Jackson

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson continue as Democratic Senator Cory Booker delivers an emotional speech to uplift Jackson amidst an incredulous GOP onslaught.  The moment captured the love, respect, and deep “knowing” that is uniquely shared between black men and women.

Corey Booker’s Passionate Speech

Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) delivered a passionate speech Wednesday during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Ketanji Brown Jackson, which brought about an emotional response from the Supreme Court nominee. During his speech, Booker emphasized the significance of Jackson’s nomination, recalling the achievements and struggles of Black Americans that paved the way for the federal judge’s bid for the Supreme Court.

“You did not get there because of some left-wing agenda,” Senator Booker said.  “You didn’t get here because of some dark money groups,” he said as Jackson wiped away her tears. “You got here how every Black woman in America who’s gotten anywhere has done: By saying, like Ginger Rogers said, ‘I did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards in heels.’”

Booker, who is the only Black senator on the committee, also shared an anecdote of how he was approached while jogging by a Black woman who wanted to express to him how much Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination meant to her. 

The speech was a strong and much-needed contrast to the questioning from Senate Republicans, who have used Jackson’s nomination hearing to engage in a constant rabbit hole of bizarre and nonsensical racist dog whistles. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) drew ire Monday when she suggested that white privilege doesn’t exist in America and accused Jackson of having a “personal hidden agenda” rooted in race. On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) unironically asked Jackson if she believed “babies are racist.” On Tuesday and Wednesday, she underwent aggressive and combative questioning from Lindsey Graham. 

“You are a person that is so much more than your race and gender — you are a Christian, you are a mom, you are an intellect, you love books,” Booker said, alluding to the GOP’s attacks on Jackson. “But don’t worry, my sister. Don’t worry. God has got you — and how do I know that? Because you’re here, and I know what it’s taken for you to sit in that seat.”

“You and I… we appreciate something that we get that a lot of my colleagues don’t.”  Booker then recounted his journey since becoming only the 4th Black person ever popularly elected to the US Senate.  The “knowing moment” put on full display the unique bond, respect and love shared between black women and men.Jackson became emotional once more Wednesday during questioning from Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), who asked Jackson how she felt about being an inspiration for young Americans from similar backgrounds. “I hope to inspire people to try to follow this path, because I love this country, because I love the law, because I think it is important that we all invest in our future,” she said.

Graham On The Attack Again

Before the confirmations had started, the GOP, specifically Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had promised to the nation “I’m going to listen to the evidence, I’m going to listen to the hearings, and by the way she’ll be treated much better than Democrats have typically treated Republican nominees like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. It’ll be a respectful, deep dive into her record which I think is entirely appropriate for a lifetime appointment.”

This would, come to find out, be proven false. From Marsha Blackburn’s condescending lecture on the “white privilege” and her beliefs that it doesn’t exist, Ted Cruz’s asinine question on if babies could be racists, and Lindsey Graham’s attack on her yesterday. 

It continued on Wednesday.  In the second round with Judge Jackson, the South Carolina senator once again used his time to air known right-wing grievances, particularly over the way Democrats have supposedly mistreated conservative judicial nominees, even going so far to suggest that Jackson, a Black woman, should be happy about how “easy” her confirmation process has been.

Alluding to the 2003 filibuster of Bush nominee Janice Rogers Brown, who is Black, to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Graham  said  “if you are a person of color, a woman, supported by liberals, it is pretty easy sailing.” 

Eventually, Graham went down the road of berating Jackson over her sentencing in child-porn cases while suggesting and implying to the public she is sympathetic to pedophiles. 

Experts have noted that her sentences were “pretty mainstream.” Conservative legal experts have labeled attacks against her as “disingenuous” and “meritless to the point of demagoguery.”

This, however, did not stop Graham from accosting Jackson with pointed questions about her sentences in a handful of cases where she imposed lighter sentences than federal guidelines suggested. He consistently and repeatedly cut her off before she could provide a detailed explanation and took the chance to admonish her further.

“If you’re listening to my voice today and you’re on a computer looking at child pornography and you get caught, I hope your sentence is enhanced because the computer and the internet is feeding the beast here,” he said, objecting to Jackson’s attempt to explain the antiquated guidelines in some of these cases. As he reached the end of his time, he pressed Jackson on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s controversial confirmation hearings and claimed that Democrats “ambushed” Kavanaugh with allegations of sexual assault, Graham insisted that he would not treat Jackson that way before asking her to express her feelings about the 2018 hearings.

“How would you feel if I had a letter from somebody accusing you of something, a crime, or misconduct, for weeks, and I give it to Sen. Durbin just before this hearing’s over and not allow you to comment on the accusation? How would you feel about that?” Graham wondered.

“Senator, I’m not sure,” came Jackson’s confused responded. “I don’t understand the context of the question.”

He continued to grill Jackson on the Kavanaugh hearings, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) told the Republican lawmaker that his time was up.

“Please, Mr. Chairman,” Graham said. “She filibustered every question I had and she has the right to give an answer but I’m trying to make a point in 20 minutes.”

With back-and-forth about Kavanaugh, Jackson stated that she would like to respond to Graham on her sentencing decisions in child-pornography cases. “The point of the guideline is to assist judges in determining what punishment to provide in cases and they are horrible cases, but the idea is that between the range of punishment that Congress has prescribed, judges are supposed to be providing proportional punishment based on what a person has done,” she noted. “The sentencing scheme doesn’t place everybody at the same level.”

Graham continued his tried and true pattern of interrupting her, despite Durbin repeatedly reminding him that his allotted time was over. “I’m going to give the witness an opportunity to respond to you, senator,” Durbin stated.

“Finally,” said Graham, who proceeded to cut Jackson off over and over again for the next few minutes. Ten minutes after Graham’s time had expired, he got in one more slanderous attack and again suggested Jackson was going easy on sex offenders.

The committee chairman chastised Graham for his performance. “The conduct described is reprehensible and I think everyone in this room agrees. The fact of the matter is, I’m a co-sponsor of your bill, the Internet Act. And I believe we should be doing our job here,” Durbin said. “But part of our job, we failed in responding to the changing circumstances that face this crime.”

The chairman added: “What has it been, 15 or 16 years? She is currently not an outlier in sentencing. Seventy percent of federal judges face the same dilemma and wonder why Congress has failed to act and when it will act!”

“This is our fault?” Graham shot back, throwing his hands in the air.

Durbin replied that “partially it is” as he moved on to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to begin her questioning of Jackson. Graham, repeated his performance from the previous day, rose from his chair and appeared to walk off in a huff.

After the questioning, Senator Patrick Leahy called Senator Graham’s behavior outrageous, stating, “You had a Republican member who went way the over time allotted, ignored the rules of the committee, badgered the nominee, would not ever let her answer the questions. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve been here 48 years.”

Graham on the Attack

If there were two words that would describe Republican Senator Lindsey Graham during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Justice, it would be aggressive and combative. 

It was a heated exchange between Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Wednesday morning after the senator revived a line of attack on the judge’s sentencing record in cases that involved  images of child sexual abuse.

For Graham, the exchange was reminiscent of his angry diatribe during the caustic confirmation hearings of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. His temper that was displayed showed a different Lindsey Graham who had voted less than a year ago to confirm Judge Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Graham’s aggressive questioning these past two days — which has included rhetorical questions, constant interruptions and lectures — implied that he was unlikely to vote to confirm her.

On Tuesday, Mr. Graham made it clear he was still incensed President Biden had chosen to nominate Judge Jackson over Graham’s desired candidate, Judge J. Michelle Childs.  On Wednesday, he seemed to hold Judge Jackson personally responsible for the treatment that Democrats delivered to Justice Kavanaugh: “He was ambushed,” Graham boomed. “How would you feel if we did that to you?”

Questioning about Jackson’s faith took place. 

“What faith are you, by the way?” he asked.  With the answer that she’s a nondenominational protestant, Graham then asked: “Could you fairly judge a Catholic?”  

Jackson stated that she didn’t feel comfortable talking about her personal religious views, Graham changed topics to how Democrats scrutinized Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic faith in both 2017 and 2020.

“How would you feel if a senator up here said of your faith ‘the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s of concern’?” he said, an allusion to what Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told Barrett when she was nominated to a federal appeals court in 2017. “You’re reluctant to talk about it because it’s uncomfortable. Just imagine what would happen if people on late-night television called you a f’ing nut speaking in tongues because you practice the Catholic faith in a way they couldn’t relate to.”

Then there was a separate accusation where Graham accused Jackson, who was an appellate specialist at the private firm Morrison & Foerster LLP from 2007 to 2010, of putting the United States “in an untenable position” when she made the argument to the Supreme Court that the executive branch did not have authority to conduct periodic threat reviews to keep suspected terrorists in detention indefinitely. In a follow-up exchange with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that occurred after his questioning, Graham declared that enemy combatants who posed any threats should be held at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp until they die.

“As long as they’re dangerous, I hope they all die in jail if they’re going to go back and kill Americans. It won’t bother me one bit if 39 of them die in prison. That’s a better outcome than letting them go. And if it costs $500 million to keep ‘em in jail, keep ‘em in jail, because they’re going to go back to the fight.” he said with clear anger in his voice, arguing that Jackson’s advocacy against keeping detainees in prison indefinitely hurt the nation’s ability to defend itself.  

“I’m suggesting the system has failed miserably and advocates to change the system like she was advocating would destroy our ability to protect our country,” he said then he abruptly walked out of the hearing room. Before he left, Graham said the support of what he called a “left-wing, radical” group for Jackson’s nomination was “problematic” for him, a clear indication that he’s likely to vote against her nomination later this month.   

Graham had backed South Carolina District Judge J. Michelle Childs for the court and has repeatedly shown his public displeasure she was not chosen by Biden and made it clear Tuesday he’s still unhappy that Biden passed over Childs, whom he recommended and said could have gotten more than 60 votes for confirmation.  He asked Jackson what she knew of in addition to what interaction she had with progressive advocacy groups that urged Biden not to nominate Childs. 

“Did you know there are a lot of people on the left who were trying to destroy Michelle Childs? Did you notice that?” he said, characterizing the criticisms from the left of Childs as a “union-busting Republican in disguise.”  

Jackson then acknowledged “it is troublesome that people are or were doing things” that may have damaged the reputation of other candidates. Graham then focused on Jackson’s arguments to the Supreme Court while counsel at Morrison & Foerster and focused on her work to recruit former federal judges to weigh in with justices through an amicus curiae friend-of-the-court brief. Jackson said that she was working for her clients, including the libertarian Cato Institute, but Graham refused to accept her answer, responding tersely: “I don’t understand what you’re saying quite frankly.”

“What made you join this cause?” he demanded. “Did you feel OK in adopting that cause?” 

Graham then implied that Jackson’s work to reform the detention practices at Guantánamo reflected her personal views in favor of releasing suspected terrorists after long periods of detention, saying “if you had your way, the executive branch could not do periodic reviews about the danger the detainee presents to the United States” and “would have to make a decision about trying them or releasing them.”  

Jackson said, “It’s not my argument, I was filing an amicus brief on behalf of clients.”

Graham countered, “When you sign on to brief, does it not become your argument? Is that your position when you were in private practice? You sign on to this brief making this argument, but you’re saying it’s not your position. Why would you do that if it’s not your position? Why would you take the client that has a position like that? This is voluntary, no one is making you do this.”

Graham emphasized that she wasn’t representing the enemy combatants but instead trying to influence the court through an amicus brief. “You’re putting America in an untenable position,” he said. “This is not the way you fight a war. If you tried to do this in World War II, they’d run you out of town.”  

“When you signed on to the brief, were you not advocating that position?” he asked.

Babies? Racist?

The idea of subtly is not a word within the Republicans’ dictionary. At least not when it comes to Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing. 

From Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Monday lecturing about the “so-called white privilege” not existing in America. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) continued on Tuesday, grilling Jackson about an anti-racist children’s book, Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracist Baby. This is a book that is not even included in the school’s list of anti-racist resources.

“Do you agree with this book that is being taught with kids that babies are racist?” Cruz asked in front of a blown-up poster of one of the book’s pages.

Jackson had paused for several seconds. “I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist, or as though they are not valued, or as though they are less than,… that they are victims, that they are oppressors. I don’t believe in any of that.  I have not reviewed any of those books, any of those ideas. They don’t come up in my work as a judge, which I am respectfully here to address.”

This book never argued that babies are racist, anyway. Instead,  it is simply a colorful tool for parents to teach children how to be anti-racist. Cruz is very well aware of this, yet he and the rest of the Republican Party feel they need to find ways to slander Jackson. The GOP zeroed in on her position on the Georgetown Day School board and  the fact that she is a Black woman, rather bluntly on Tuesday afternoon, tweeting a GIF replacing “KBJ” with “CRT,” next to an image of Jackson’s face.

White Privilege Isn’t Real?

Confirmation hearings for Kentanji Brown Jackson began on Monday. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were more than a little concerned about President Biden’s choice to replace the former justice, targeting the first female African-American nominee on issues of race and white privilege.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) took centerstage lecturing Jackson that white privilege does not exist in America.   This in spite of multiple studies have proven white privilege and the evidence that, of the 114 justices that have been confirmed to sit on the country’s highest court, only two of them are Black and only one Latina, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

“You serve on the board of a school that teaches, kindergartners, five-year-old children, that they can choose their gender and that teaches them about so-called white privilege,” Blackburn said. 

McConnell: Undecided

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell stated this past Sunday that he hasn’t decided on if he will vote to confirm President Biden’s nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, to the Supreme Court. McConnell stated that he was troubled by her refusal to object to expanding the nine-justice court.

McConnell (R-Ky.) said he met with Jackson in his Capitol Hill office last week and asked if she’d oppose expanding the court. “She wouldn’t do that. So, in the meantime, the committee will ask her all the tough questions. I haven’t made a final decision as to how I’m going to vote,” McConnell said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

“I’m going to listen to the evidence, I’m going to listen to the hearings, and by the way she’ll be treated much better than Democrats have typically treated Republican nominees like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh,” he then added on. “It’ll be a respectful, deep dive into her record which I think is entirely appropriate for a lifetime appointment.”

The Republican leader then made note on how previous Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, whom Jackson would replace if she is confirmed, have objected to packing the court as some Democrats have suggested.

“Typically, these Supreme Court nominees of both parties have never answered any of the questions. What they typically say is that, ‘Something might come before me and I don’t want to prejudge how I might actually vote,’” explained McConnell, who had voted against Jackson’s nomination to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in June 2021.

Jackson’s confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee continues through Thursday.

Tough Questioning

Hearings for the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson began on March 21.

As Judge Brown has been confirmed by the Senate three times; Democrats won’t be relying on Republican buy-in to complete her journey to the Supreme Court, as they only need a simple majority to confirm her. If Democrats are unified in this 50-50 Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris could be the vote to break the tie if need be.

Judge Ketanji Brown’s Harvard Connections Questioned

In her upcoming Senate confirmation hearing, Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson may be asked if she will recuse herself from one of the first major cases she would be hearing as a justice – a challenge to Harvard University’s use of race as a factor in undergraduate admissions.

Jackson, who is an alumnus of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, is currently sitting on the university’s Board of Overseers whose role is to “provide counsel to the University’s leadership on priorities, plans, and strategic initiatives,” according to its website.

This fall, the justices are expected to hear a challenge to the school’s admissions policy brought by a group of Asian-American students who alleged they were illegally targeted and rejected at a disproportionately higher rate because of their race. Decisions regarding this case could determine the fate of affirmative action policies nationwide.

History Set In Motion

On Friday, February 25, 2022, in the midst of worldwide attention on the upheaval in the Ukraine, President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to make history as the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.

As he introduced Jackson to the White House, he stated, “Today, as we watch freedom and liberty under attack abroad, I’m here to fulfill my responsibilities under the Constitution, to preserve freedom and liberty here in the United States of America. For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America. I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications, and that we inspire all young people to believe that they can one day serve their country at the highest level.”

51-year-old Kentanji Jackson currently sits on DC’s federal court of appeals, and was considered the front-runner for the vacant spot since the moment Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement.

Republicans and White Supremacy vs Kentanji Brown Jackson

When she was announced, Republican Senators immediately went on the attack on Ketanji Brown Jackson, and portrayed her as a pawn of the left. 

While Democrats praised the qualifications of Biden’s choice, Republicans sought to criticize her educational background, record on crime and the support she holds from left-wing groups. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who ironically voted for Jackson to serve as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit eight months ago, appeared to be against her nomination, saying in a tweet that “the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again.”