With public hearings, the historic – and mostly despicable – confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson concluded on Thursday, March 24. And the Republican Party punctuated their four-day-long, racially-charged, and otherwise disrespectful digs at Judge Jackson.
In the classic “I’m not racist, I have a Black friend” portion of their shameful and spineless public denigration of the accomplished Harvard Law graduate, the GOP trotted out First Liberty Institute associate counsel Keisha Russell, a Black woman.
Russell, a favorite of GOP allies Fox News and other decidedly Republican-leaning networks, spent her testimony discussing critical race theory. “CRT makes race the predominant factor,” Russell remarked as she read a prepared statement. “America’s history as a lesson and blueprint as to how we must constantly seek to uphold and protect America’s founding promises. For these reasons, First Liberty opposes the nomination.”
Additionally, the GOP trotted out Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and administrative law professor Jennifer Mascott, both opposing Judge Jackson’s nominations, falsely stating that the Biden administration has embraced “ideology of the anti-incarceration and anti-police movement.”
Mascott insisted that Judge Jackson “may have a different view than traditionally applied methods of originalism,” a philosophy Republican-appointed judges have embraced.
Perhaps more forceful than the committee members, Democratic witnesses pushed back. “We have waited far too long for this day, but we are nonetheless overjoyed that it has finally arrived. Judge Jackson’s presence on the court will matter tremendously,” said Wade Henderson, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) decried the assault on Judge Jackson because of her gender and race. The congresswoman urged the Senate to consider Judge Jackson’s record.“[This is a] glass ceiling that many Americans believed that they would never live to see broken,” Congresswoman Beatty asserted. “Judge Jackson’s confirmation vote must not be isolated to her gender or her race. Instead, I urge you to examine her credentials and sterling judicial records closely. They read like a storybook for a perfectly prepared jurist to sit on the nation’s highest court.”
With the close of Thursday’s public hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to meet on Monday, March 28. The committee has tentatively scheduled a vote on the nomination on April 4.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said he expects a full vote by April 11. Democrats hope that some Republicans join them in voting to confirm Judge Jackson. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), one of the main actors in these hearings, voted in 2021 to confirm Judge Jackson to the powerful D.C. appellate court.
Sen. Graham has signaled he’ll vote against confirmation this time. Republicans Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Susan Collins of Maine, also voted to confirm Judge Jackson in 2021.
If the confirmation vote splits along party lines, Vice President Kamala Harris will cast the tiebreaker, assuring Judge Jackson’s ascension as the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice.