Ketanji Brown Jackson Faces GOP Pushback During Hearings

Audrey Smith, Writer

All eyes are on President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, as she faces the Senate for nomination hearings.

Jackson, who is 51 years old, is the first black woman ever to be nominated to the Supreme Court. Her nomination fulfills Biden’s campaign promise of nominating a black woman to promote more diverse opinions. She had previously been nominated by the Senate three previous times for judiciary roles.

The hearings started on Monday, March 21 with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, who is the Senate Judiciary chair, presiding over them. The nomination proceedings began with Jackson thanking God and her parents.

She also thanked her children and said directly to them, “I know it has not been easy as I’ve tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood.”

According to The New York Times, in Jackson’s opening statements, “she committed to adopt a “neutral stance” if confirmed and promised to continue to produce expansive, “transparent” opinions.”

Democrats went on to praise her nomination as historic, but also highlighted her very impressive record and achievements. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) in a passionate speech expressed, “We are on the precipice of shattering another ceiling…I just feel this sense of overwhelming joy as I see you sitting there.”

The party also emphasized her relationships to law enforcement as well as bipartisan support for her from various legal organizations and judges.

As expected, Republican Senators are pushing back against Jackson’s nomination by asking her an array of questions, some of which seem to lack relevance.

The questions ranged from asking her the definition of a woman, making her look at pictures of an anti-racist baby book, and questioning her opinions on critical race theory.

Many Republicans also invoked images from Brett Kavanaugh’s hearings to explain their line of questioning. Kavanaugh, who was nominated by Donald Trump in 2018, faced questions about an accusation of sexual assault made by Christine Blasey Ford.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) communicated, “We will be fair and thorough, as people would expect us to be, but we won’t get down in the gutter like Democrats did during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.”

However, many noted that Republicans’ questions were outright ridiculous. Republicans took many of her rulings and cases out of context, and accused her of being light on child pornography cases.

The leaders of this Republican charge included Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Some of their questions were focused on hot topics that are likely to be at the forefront of midterm campaigns.

Many Senators pushed back at these Republicans’ line of questioning with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) pronouncing, “I know the junior senator from Texas [Ted Cruz] likes to get on television…But most of us have been here a long time trying to follow the rules.”

Even Republican Ben Sasse (R-NE) noted, “I think we should recognize that the jackassery we often see around here is partly because of people mugging for short-term camera opportunities.”

Overall Republicans’ attempt to rail Jackson’s nominations are unlikely to come to anything. Republican Susan Collins (R-ME) announced she will vote to confirm Jackson, in addition to Democratic wild card Joe Manchin (D-WV) promoting his support.

The confirmation vote is set to occur on April 4th, with Democrats trying to get Jackson’s confirmation before the Easter break. Despite all the partisan fighting during the hearings, it seems that Ketanji Brown Jackson will become the first black woman serving on the highest court in the land.