“What do you want to talk about?”
It’s a question on the minds of Republican senators these days as some of them are meeting or have met with senile president Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, the little known but now quite consequential federal appeals court judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (KBJ -- hey, if the liberal establishment media made it easy on themselves by shortening Amy Coney Barrett’s full name to ACB, why not do the same for the Democrats’ hyphenated nominee?). With a host of “other” things going on in the United States today, not a lot of attention is being spared for a Court vacancy that hasn’t yet materialized. 83-year-old retiring Justice Stephen Breyer is presumably still showing up every morning for his current job, and will do so until his term ends. Then he’ll move on to fishing or lecturing or napping, the same things that every career jurist tends to do when they’re no longer donning a black robe.
But the news media is far more preoccupied with what’s going on in eastern Europe -- or far western Asia, depending on who you listen to -- to give much credence and attention to the background of someone who will cast votes on issues that will affect every citizen in this country, probably for decades to come. Folks have a right to know a lot about KBJ’s past activities and affiliations, and we’re not just talking about whether she attended a beer party in high school that might crop up in one of her confirmation hearings.
Nevertheless, formal pleasantries have begun in the senate office buildings. As everyone knows by now, KBJ was selected by Biden because she met his less-than-demanding personal criteria for qualification to one of nine positions on the top bench in the land -- namely that she was born with African ancestry, possesses a dark skin tone, and happens to be a biological female. The last qualification never used to be an issue until American liberals began allowing men to claim that they’re women, and vice versa.
It's all a process, mind you. Everyone knows that every Democrat senator will vote to confirm KBJ. Even frequent party-bucker West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has said positive things about “diversity” on the Supreme Court, so presumably there’s no potential holdout there. Likewise, nearly every Republican surely plans to vote “no” on confirmation, the memories of Democrats brow-beating Donald Trump’s nominees fresh in their noggins. Plus there’s the fact that KBJ appears to be a dedicated leftist advocate in fancy clothes, if her past judicial and political record are any indication. Putting her on the Court guarantees another vote for outcome-based jurisprudence. America already has two “diverse” females (Sonia Sotomayor, who was selected for her Hispanic heritage and Elena Kagan, who is Jewish) serving as rubberstamp votes for all things liberal. Why would we need another?
So… what should we talk about? Kaelan Deese reported at The Washington Examiner last week:
“Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson continued her meetings with lawmakers on Wednesday as she approaches her confirmation hearings, convening with Republican Sens. Josh Hawley and Mike Lee.
“Lee and Hawley have recently expressed concerns about her nomination to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, who will step down from the high court later this year. Hawley recounted that he was troubled by Jackson's ‘record on crime and criminal justice’ in a statement last month, while Lee has ‘grave concerns’ about the ‘precedent she would seek to set’ as a justice, he said in a Feb. 25 statement…
“On Tuesday, Jackson met with Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Ted Cruz of Texas. Jackson also met with Sen. Rick Scott, who is not on the committee but represents Jackson's home state of Florida. Jackson's hearings before the committee are slated to begin March 21.”
One week from today. Not much time.
I’m not sure how the above referenced meetings went, and it’s really not relevant here. The point is KBJ is being given a grand tour of the senate offices and gets to meet with the people behind the big name plates on the fancy desks. Whereas most average visitors barely get through the front door and are instantly blocked by a staff barricade, the Supreme Court nominee receives more than a polite greeting and an offer of coffee, tea or water to drink.
The questioning is perfunctory, and, I’d imagine, is pretty boring. After a couple brief moments of discussing the weather in DC that day and asking if KBJ got to meet the Biden family’s pooches when she visited the White House to interview for the big job, the senator and nominee probably get down to business.
Democrats likely only seek a few things from KBJ: “Can you look me in the eye and assure me you will protect abortion no matter what? Those conservative honks over there are planning to overturn Roe v. Wade in a couple months, which means we need every beating heart we can find to affirm a women’s right to terminate her baby up until the moment of birth and sometimes after. Are you with us? This fight’s not over!”
Or how about, “Clarence Thomas turned out to be a huge disappointment to those of us in the liberal Civil Rights movement. He doesn’t wear a Klan hood, but he probably should! The Washington Post said that he reasons like a white man would. Can you tell me that you think like a black woman? We’re not talking about Candice Owens or Diamond and Silk here, either. Or Star Parker. They’re traitors to the cause. Go over and talk with Maxine Waters and Ayanna Pressley and you’ll know where we’re coming from.”
And lastly, “If we vote to confirm you, would you promise to shoot your fellow justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett a dirty look every day? They’re not legitimate. Each one of their nominations should have been defeated. Gorsuch because he took Merrick Garland’s rightful spot, Kavanaugh because we must ‘believe all survivors’ even if they can’t remember a darn thing about what they accused a man of doing and ACB because, well, she’s a practicing Catholic and replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg too close to the election Joe Biden won.”
KBJ’s meetings with Democrats shouldn’t last more than about fifteen minutes. They don’t need to talk with her about anything other than making sure she’s a liberal true believer and will vote on cases as though she consulted with Barack Obama on every single one of them. Can you imagine the betrayal if KBJ actually adopted some originalist leanings and made state legislatures and Congress codify social policy into law rather than having courts do it?
The world might end. Or the Democrat party might fold. It’s the same thing to these people.
It’s not that Republicans have a whole heck of a lot more to try and extract from KBJ, but at least meeting face-to-face with her is an opportunity to point out that she’s not exactly as qualified -- in the traditional legal sense -- as she should be for such a lofty promotion. While it’s true that she was confirmed last year to the DC Appeals Court bench, she’s only been there the same amount of time it takes to gestate a human baby. She’s basically just gotten her office seat warm and discovered where the best places are to have lunch and already it’s time to move on?
Republicans didn’t say much when Biden announced KBJ three weeks ago, likely surmising that they didn’t have the numbers to stop her from being confirmed if Joe Manchin wasn’t willing to proverbially spit in Chucky Schumer’s eye again on this matter of great magnitude. Three Republicans had voted to pass her last year -- usual waffle suspects Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Lindsey Graham -- so the chances of them turning back towards the right in that span of time aren’t great.
Though it was reported that Graham is mad at Biden for passing over his favored candidate for the seat in favor of KBJ -- so he’s probably going to vote against KBJ in committee.
Like Mitch McConnell did for Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, Chucky Schumer recognizes the numbers are on his side. Republicans shouldn’t make it routine for the Democrats, however. Here’s what they should ask KBJ: “It used to be that nominees were given a lot of deference by senators from both parties. How do you feel about the way that Clarence Thomas was treated by Joe Biden back in the early 90’s? What do you think of the way that Kamala Harris browbeat Brett Kavanaugh a few years ago? What kind of treatment do you expect when you go into the committee room? What artwork do you have in your office? What are your favorite movies? Did you like the Super Bowl halftime show this year? If so, why? How much of your personal life should be under the microscope to be confirmed to the Supreme Court? Do you plan to say anything about this topic during your opening statement?” Or, “What part of your judicial philosophy would be considered appealing to those who believe in the Constitution’s separation of powers? What’s your opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia’s body of opinions? Which current or past justices would you say are influences on you? When does life begin? Did Anthony Fauci overstep his authority during COVID? How far can a government go in ordering its citizens to accept medical treatments?” And, “You have a very political background. Your father was an attorney for a schoolboard and your mom also worked for a public school. What are your thoughts on school choice? It’s bound to come before the Court.”
There’s a lot more, but getting straight answers out of KBJ won’t be easy. She’ll be dodging and weaving and looking at her watch or phone figuring the Republicans aren’t going to vote for her anyway. Democrats would vote on the first day of hearings if they could. It will be next to impossible to stop Ketanji Brown Jackson from advancing to the Court. Let’s just hope we learn something useful about her in the process.
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