Even though the Senate's confirmation hearings aren't quite over, yet, it's been apparent since Day One how despicably Republican members of the Judiciary Committee were going to behave. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has now endured three of the four days, sitting silently through most of the first day of opening statements, then muscling through two grueling, torturous days of questioning. The millions of us cheering her on from our couches and kitchens at least were able to endure it from afar, where we had the luxury of throwing things, screaming, banging on our desks, and typing profanities furiously into our phones. You know, like the Republicans on the committee did.
There were so many unforgivable abuses the GOP members heaped upon Judge Jackson, including vile perversions of her sentencing records, lies told about what she'd written, mischaracterizations about her career choices, insulting questions about gender and race, intrusive questions about her religious faith, and, astonishingly, calling her a liar to her face. All of this appalling misconduct can be directly traced to these Republican members' overt racism and misogyny. They ALL thought they were smarter, better, and obligated to put her in what they believe is her place.
One common theme of degradation, though, began with the very first Republican's very first statement on Day One, and continued all the way through the end of Day Three. And this one has less to do with misogyny and racism, and more to do with white mediocrity.
Yes, I'm talking about Brett Kavanaugh. White mediocrity personified. Republicans are STILL furious that Democrats had the nerve to attempt to investigate credible allegations against him of sexual assault. How DARE they question their frat boy extraordinaire?
Ranking Member Chuck Grassley waited exactly one paragraph into his opening statement before he began rehashing their bruised little egos over the Kavanaugh hearings, sarcastically congratulating everyone for getting off to a much better start.
Now, I want to talk a bit about what everyone watching should expect from this hearing, and what they shouldn’t expect. We will conduct a thorough, exhaustive examination of Judge Jackson’s record and views. We won’t try to turn this into a spectacle based on alleged process fouls. On that front, we’re off to a good start. Unlike the start to the Kavanaugh hearings, we didn’t have repeated, choreographed interruptions of Chairman Durbin during his opening statement like Democrats interrupted me for more than an hour during my opening statement at the Kavanaugh hearing.
A search of TVEyes from Day One produced ten mentions of Brett Kavanaugh by name from Republicans during the confirmation hearing for the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court. That doesn't count all the thoroughly transparent references to those disgraceful proceedings where he wasn't mentioned by name — again, ALL for the purposes of patting themselves on the back for not engaging in the "behavior" Democrats did at the time. (You know - the "behavior" of looking into credible allegations of attempted sexual assault.) At the end of Day Three they were STILL making Kavanaugh comparisons.
Can someone, ANY Democrat on the Judiciary Committee please plainly state that the reason this isn't a replay of the Kavanaugh hearings is that Biden didn't nominate someone who was egregiously unqualified and also credibly accused of attempted rape and assault? That the reason this is different from the Kavanaugh hearings is that the person our Democratic president nominated is eminently qualified and highly moral, with more years of judicial experience than four of the current SCOTUS justices combined? That she has led a life free of scandal, and has the support of groups across the wide political spectrum?
Can any of our Democratic senators slip into their remarks the fact that the reason there aren't any interruptions by protesters is that we are in the middle of a pandemic, and attendance is restricted? NOT because GOP spectators are better behaved? Because we all know that if the room was open to onlookers, it would be filled with "Freedom" Convoy truckers and Klan members protesting a Black woman ascending to the Supreme Court? We know that, don't we?
Our senators have been doing a great job calling out the lies Republicans on the committee have been spewing about Judge Jackson, to Judge Jackson. They're calling the behavior of their GOP counterparts shocking, appalling, cruel, and demeaning — right there in the hearings, speaking directly to Judge Jackson. It's in the Congressional Record now.
Can they please, PLEASE go one step further and contrast their Republican colleagues' outrageously degrading and abusive behavior with their masturbatory, self-congratulatory remarks about how respectful they're being to Judge Jackson, and the abject hypocrisy it exposes in them all? The shameless liars the GOP senators are? The condescending racism and misogyny of it all?
Can they point out that if you want to make comparisons to the Kavanaugh hearings, look at how he was permitted to behave — and elicit sympathy from the GOP senators! — and what those same senators would have concluded had Judge Jackson exhibited a fraction of the outrage about her treatment that Kavanaugh was allowed? How her outrage would have been based in something rational and real?
Can they suggest their GOP colleagues recall how Republicans tolerated, applauded, even, Kavaugh's disrespectful demeanor towards the Democratic senators questioning him, and ask them what they would have concluded had Judge Jackson come at them in the same way — and for actually justifiable reasons?
Is any Democratic senator up for the task? Maybe Sen. Amy Klobuchar? Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse? Sen. Mazie Hirono?
The reasons Judge Jackson's confirmation hearings are nothing like Kavanaugh's are NOT because the GOP has better senators or are better behaved.
It's because the Democrats pick better nominees.