With public hearings, the historic — and mostly despicable — confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson concluded Thursday.
And the Republican Party punctuated its four-day, racially-charged and otherwise disrespectful digs at 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 said while reading 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 Jackson’s nominations, falsely stating that the Biden administration has embraced “ideology of the anti-incarceration and anti-police movement.”
Mascott insisted that 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,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Judge Jackson’s presence on the court will matter tremendously.”
Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) decried the assault on Jackson, which she said has been fueled by the nominee’s gender and race. The congresswoman urged the Senate to consider Jackson’s record.
“[This is a] glass ceiling that many Americans believed that they would never live to see broken,” Beatty said. “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. 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 Jackson. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the main actors in these hearings, voted in 2021 to confirm Jackson to the powerful D.C. appellate court, but has signaled he’ll vote against confirmation this time.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine also voted to confirm Jackson in 2021.
If the vote splits along party lines, Vice President Kamala Harris will cast the tiebreaker, all but assuring Jackson’s ascension as the first Black female Supreme Court justice.
“There is nothing in Judge Jackson’s record suggesting that the committee should have difficulty reporting her nomination out,” Schumer said.