For three days, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was subject to a grueling confirmation process as was expected for her historic nomination to the Supreme Court. Although she has impeccable credentials, her track record as a judge became a mere footnote as Republican senators came with their own agendas.
From the start, the discussions were contentious and filled with racist, misogynistic dog whistles that played to their base and their future political aspirations. GOP senators attempted to score political points by asking questions about her definition of what a woman is, critical race theory, and went as far as to suggest that she was sympathetic to pedophiles. A historic moment was almost became usurped by a “hostile interrogation,” stated the New York Times.
“Do you believe child predators are misunderstood?” said Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, disregarding Jackson’s distinguished record of service on the bench.
“Could you fairly judge a Catholic?” asked Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who last year happily voted to confirm Jackson to the appellate court.
Through all the hypermasculine exploits and conservative talking points of the majority Senate body, Brown Jackson offered her judicial philosophy with brilliance, tact and embodied the power of Black womanhood.
“In my capacity as a justice, I would do what I’ve done for the past decade,” Jackson explained to the committee on her third day of testimony, “which is to rule from a position of neutrality, to look carefully at the facts and… to render rulings that I believe and that I hope that people would have confidence in.”
Sen. Cory Booker, the only Black member of the committee, honored Jackson and the historic significance of the nomination of a Black woman to the US Supreme Court. His uplifting words brought her to tears.
“You did not get here because of some left-wing agenda. You didn’t get here because of some dark money groups. You got here how every Black woman in America who has gotten anywhere has done,” said Booker. “You are worthy. You are a great American.”
When Sen. Josh Hawley continually alluded to allegations that Jackson put children in danger by going easy on child porn offenders, she fired back.
“Senator, what I regret is that in a hearing about my qualifications to be a justice on the Supreme Court we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on this small subset of my sentences,” Jackson responded.
Throughout the hearings, Jackson represented all Black women who had to be questioned by white men who were substantially less qualified than them. Her grilling showed the world the microagressions and outright disrespect Black women often have to endure in the workplace simply by existing. But as strong Black women often do, Jackson held her head high and did not let them take her down; she persevered.
If confirmed, Jackson would become the first Black woman to take a seat on the nation’s highest court. And we can’t wait to see it!