Ketanji Brown Jackson's Confirmation Hearing Was Boring. That's What Happens With A Flawless Nominee.

Republicans ranted about past Supreme Court hearings and critical race theory, but their tantrums fizzled.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies on the third day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 23.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies on the third day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 23.
Tom Williams via Getty Images

I’m genuinely disappointed in Republicans. The cesspool of bigotry, sexism and racism that makes up much of the Republican half of the Senate has not had one gotcha moment during the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Black woman. There has not been one apparent outburst of crazy, not one shouting match, not one made-for-TV moment where the unshakeable tinfoil hat of Republicanism has been on full display.

And I originally expected more of Republicans because they are the conspiracy theorists who keep America lively. They are the ones who claimed that former President Barack Obama was not an actual citizen. And even though Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi doesn’t drink, that didn’t stop North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn from claiming that she has an issue with alcohol. Because who needs facts when you have Republicans. Amirite?

With Jackson, they’ve tried to attack her sentencing practices in which she favors rehabilitation, (mock gasp) empathy, and jail time. They presented baseless claims taken entirely out of context to imply that Jackson, both a woman and a mother, is soft on child porn offenders. But Republicans have their own explanation for their lackluster performance, that they are allegedly taking the high road. I know, but that’s what they are saying. Republicans have claimed that, unlike Democrats, they wouldn’t be using the personal attack approach on Jackson as their counterparts did when questioning Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on his alleged history of sexual assault, rampant bro-ism and beer drinking.

Of course, Sen. Lindsey Graham tried it, but he got upset and stormed out because Graham tends to get upset easily. (In our house, we call temper tantrums “Grahaming.”)

“So you say, Judge Jackson, you don’t have any judicial philosophy per se. Well, somebody on the left believes you do, or they went and spent the money to have you in this chair,” Graham said, alluding to conspiracy theories around dark-money groups backing Jackson’s nomination, the Greenville News reports.

“The media will be your biggest cheerleader. They’re in your camp. They have every right to pick who they want to pick. There won’t be this constant attack on you like Judge Kavanaugh and other conservative judicial appointments,” Graham said while Grahaming.

“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 in, how you believe in God, nobody’s gonna do that,” Graham said to Jackson.

“And that’s a good thing. So you’re the beneficiary of a lot. You’re the beneficiary of Republican nominees having their life turned upside down, and it didn’t work.”

If you’ve been watching the three-day yawnfest that is Jackson’s confirmation hearing, you know that there’s been a lot of this GOP rabble-rousing to excite the base, but no actual questions lobbed at Jackson. Just random statements made because no one loves a microphone and a captive audience like Republicans.

Here’s a thought: Maybe, just maybe, Republicans could not have their gotcha moment because Ketanji Brown Jackson is flawless. Jackson attended Harvard University for college and law school. She was the editor of the Harvard Law Review. She had three clerkships, including one with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. She was a U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia. And, since 2016, she has been a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers.

She is literally the collective Obama administration during his eight years in office, where the best Republicans could do was rage about his wearing of a tan suit. She’s so untouchable that the “always ready to turn a committee hearing into an episode of ‘Jerry Springer’” GOP has not had a chance. This hearing for the most significant court in the land, this hearing to confirm the first Black female Supreme Court justice in the history of ever has been, dare I say it, boring.

And that might be because Jackson crushed it in her opening statements noting that she is both the American dream and her African name: Ketanji Onyika, which she told the panel means “lovely one.”

But none of this could stop Sen. Ted Cruz, who spent the majority of his time Tuesday trying to link Jackson to critical race theory — which argues that race has played a part in public policy — because she’s on the board of trustees for Georgetown Day School, which teaches books that Cruz doesn’t like.

It didn’t matter that Jackson explained that “she was drawn to the school because it was founded to provide a racially integrated education at a time when Washington, D.C.’s public schools were segregated.”

Nope. Cruz continued his vaguely racial line of questioning to imply that Jackson is connected to CRT because the school teaches books by Boston University historian and National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi.

Jackson merely stated that CRT isn’t something she “studied or relied” on as a judge. And just like that Cruz’s gotcha moment, if you can even call it that, fizzled out.

Maybe it was the voice of reason, perhaps it was the lone Black Republican, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who pulled the ear of the Republican Party, but the reality is Republicans know that the optics of them being their usual despicable selves against a Black woman with stellar bona fides would’ve looked bad for business. This is the one time that the fear of being called racist actually stopped would-be racists from being racist. Or maybe they have a highly qualified woman with values and excellence at her disposal whom they couldn’t tear down and figured that trying would be useless. Whatever their reasoning, who cares as Jackson is set to be confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the highest court in all the land, which burns Republicans whether or not they can actually say it.

And you love to see it.

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