Elie Mystal semi-joked that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s biggest challenge in her confirmation hearings will be “not getting up out of her chair and punching one of these fools in the mouth.”
March 20, 2022

Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearings begin Monday and, since she’s eminently qualified and Democrats have the votes to confirm her, we can be pretty sure she will be confirmed. But we can also be pretty sure that Republicans will do what they can to turn the hearings into a racist, political circus.

MYSTAL: All they have for her right now is racism and disgusting innuendo. They don't have anything on her record. She's been on the court for nine years, she’s been on the federal bench for nine years, she's issued hundreds and hundreds of cases. And you do not hear substantive legal arguments about her actual decision-making process coming from these people.

All they’ve got is the racism: They want to know about the LSAT scores. Some are going to call her an affirmative-action nominee. Some of them are going to ask her why she's not sad that good white people weren't considered for the job. Like, that’s literally what they have. Then you have the Josh Hawley ridiculousness. The challenge will just be keeping her cool. Because if she keeps her cool, which I'm sure she will do … she should do fine [because] they don’t really have anything on her.

Yes, it would be nice to have a thoughtful, substantive hearing on Judge Jackson, and, after she’s confirmed, the Republicans can “go back to crying about gas prices or talking about Hunter Biden’s laptop or whatever thing counts as a Republican platform these days,” Mystal said. Especially since “going to the mattresses against her is kind of a waste of their time.”

But thoughtful and substantive are off-brand for Republicans. I disagree with Mystal’s subsequent claim that Sen. Hawley’s QAnon attacks on Judge Jackson are a deliberate effort to get her killed (though he's obviously unconcerned about her well-being), but the attacks are still dangerously repugnant. I agree 100% that Democrats need to bring their A-game to the hearings.

MYSTAL: Here's where I need the Democrats to step up. Because when they try to smear her, I need the Democrats to get up there and defend her just as vociferously as Lindsey Graham defended alleged attempted-rapist Brett Kavanaugh. Like, I need that level of energy from the Democrats, especially when they come at her with these trumped up, alleged issues about her sentencing for sex offenders. …

Democrats need to know how to defend her from this stuff instead of letting her, laying her out there on her own.

The sad thing is that smears like Hawley’s are damaging to our democracy despite Jackson’s likely confirmation – just like the Big Lie was damaging to our democracy despite the certainty that President Joe Biden would be elected.

Fortunately, the White House seems to get it. Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates responded to Hawley, saying, in part, “This is toxic and weakly-presented misinformation that relies on taking cherry-picked elements of her record out of context—and it buckles under the lightest scrutiny.”

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