I’m writing this on the first day of the Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s nomination for the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would be the first Black woman ever to serve as a Supreme Court Justice.
This is such a historic moment that even Republicans were on their best behavior today, being totally reasonable and not saying anything extremist or tone deaf.
Ha, I kid. They were extreme. They were unreasonable. They’re Republicans, after all. They have a reputation to uphold.
During the hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made it clear that his feelings are still very much hurt that Judge Michelle Childs, HIS preferred pick from Biden’s list of potential nominees, wasn’t the one chosen. Because Biden should definitely base his nominee on the preferences of a man who went from publicly denouncing Trump in 2016 to publicly worshipping Trump after he became President. Oh, and Graham had another issue he was feeling prickly about: Republicans being accused of racism just for being racist.
“We’re all racist if we ask hard questions — it’s not gonna fly with us,” he said. ”We’re used to it by now, at least I am. So it’s not gonna matter a bit.”
Thanks for the clarification, pal.
And then there was Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), who made Graham seem measured by comparison. Blackburn used her time to give a “Conspiracy Theories that Play Well On the Planet My Base Lives” 101 course.
She asked Jackson, “Is it your personal hidden agenda to incorporate CRT into our legal system?”
CRT is, of course, “critical race theory,” which is a subject conservatives are obsessed with because they have been remarkably successful using it to turn the argument from “racism is bad” to “acknowledging racism is bad.” Never mind the fact that the majority of folks obsessed with banishing CRT cannot define what it is and know nothing about it. One of their main talking points is that learning about racism makes white kids feel bad.
Jackson is, of course, Black so she MUST have some kind of radical Black power agenda. You know, just how Brett Kavanaugh, a white man, was grilled about his white supremacy agenda. Oh, wait. He wasn’t. He WAS however, credibly accused of sexual assault and Republicans didn’t have any problem with that and are still pissed that his nomination wasn’t smooth sailing.
Blackburn also took the opportunity to let everyone know that she’s a transphobic jerk who believes that trans kids are the biggest threat the United States faces.
“Educators are allowing biological males to steal opportunities from female athletes in the name of progressivism,” Blackburn said, adding, “Some girls have been forced to share locker rooms with biological males.”
Note: what Blackburn is describing is not reality. Transgender people are a very small minority, and they are hardly taking over sports and locker rooms. Certainly not to the extent that it warrants a sitting U.S. Senator to use her pulpit to warn Americans about it.
Blackburn continued, “You serve on the board of a school that teaches kindergarteners – 5-year-old children – that they can choose their gender, and teaches them about so-called white privilege.”
That a racist white Senator has the gall to use the phrase “so-called white privilege” when talking to a Black woman is enraging enough. But so is characterizing the Georgetown Day School as a place that’s teaching 5-year-olds to be trans. The school does have a very robust Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that seeks to ensure “that diversity, social justice, and inclusivity as a foundational philosophies, are integrated throughout the community and the curriculum.” Unsurprisingly, treating transgender people like people is part of that.
“This school has hosted an organization called ‘Woke Kindergarten’ and pushes an anti-racist education program for white families. Your public endorsement of this type of progressive indoctrination of our children causes one great concern when it comes to how you may rule on cases involving parental rights,” Blackburn said. “Parental rights” is the current anti-public school rhetoric that is used for everything from protesting mask mandates to using public money for private religious schools to teaching about the Jim Crow South.
“Your philosophy or lack thereof may be the root of the problem here,” Blackburn actually dared to say to Judge Jackson.
Whether Republicans will vote to confirm Jackson is anyone’s guess. Except that Republicans have a really bad track record when it comes to Supreme Court nominees. And honesty. And racism. So. Yeah. I wouldn’t hold my breath. But I do love surprises! Actually that’s not true; I’m very easily startled. But I’ll make an exception in this case.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.