April 4, 2022

On Monday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson gets her first vote en route to what is expected to be confirmation to the Supreme Court later in the week. But this first vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee will likely end in an 11-11 tie, with none of the Republicans on the committee willing to vote to advance the nomination to the full Senate despite what most of them admit are her impeccable credentials.

A Judiciary Committee tie will force an additional vote to get her nomination to the full Senate, but there is precedent for that. In fact, in 1987, Robert Bork’s nomination got to the Senate floor after the Judiciary Committee voted against him. 

Republicans have found no legitimate line of attack against Jackson, though they’ve certainly pretended to have found a series of smoking guns in what Sen. Cory Booker called a “new, new low.” They attacked her over child pornography sentences even though her sentencing record is in line with that of other judges, including ones the very same Republicans attacking her voted to confirm. They harangued her about children's books at a private school in an effort to put race at the center of the hearings, all in a frantic attempt to distract from her excellence.

So far, the only Republican who has said she will support Jackson is Sen. Susan Collins. When Jackson was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit less than a year ago, Collins was joined by Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Lindsey Graham. Murkowski has not yet announced her intentions, while Graham has, in line with his commitment to partisanship above all, started spitting out bile.

Even the editorial board of The Washington Post can see what’s going on here: Republicans will oppose any Democratic nominee, no matter how qualified and even-tempered.

Sen. Ben Sasse “complained that Judge Jackson ’refused to claim originalism as her judicial philosophy.’ In fact, the extent to which she embraced originalism made many liberals uncomfortable,” the editorial notes. “’I believe that the Constitution is fixed in its meaning,’ Judge Jackson said in her confirmation hearings. ‘I believe that it’s appropriate to look at the original intent, original public meaning, of the words when one is trying to assess because, again, that’s a limitation on my authority to import my own policy.’ If that is not good enough for Mr. Sasse, he is committing to reject any Supreme Court nominee selected by a Democratic president. Perhaps that is the point.”

Yeah. That’s it. That’s the point! And while their vision has cleared enough to see what’s going on with Sasse on this vote, perhaps these and other influential people in the media could come to terms with the fact that this is who Sasse is, no matter how much he might sometimes try to posture as a reasonable, establishment-friendly Republican.

The Post’s editorial board similarly highlights the absurdity and outrage of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claiming he opposes Jackson in part because she would not answer questions on court expansion—when her answers directly echoed those of Amy Coney Barrett, whose nomination McConnell rushed through while the nation was voting on a new president.

Here, though, is the essential point—one that the media has in recent weeks too often let Republicans get away with obscuring:

Republican senators’ hypocrisy peaks when they complain that Democrats mistreated past GOP nominees, such as Justice Barrett and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. It was Republicans who obliterated the last shreds of goodwill in the judicial confirmation process when they blocked then-Judge Merrick Garland, whom President Barack Obama nominated in 2016 to replace the late Antonin Scalia, based on scant principle whatsoever.

Republicans then forced through Kavanaugh despite credible sexual assault allegations that did not receive a full investigation, and Barrett despite—and this cannot be repeated enough—the fact that voting had already started in the 2020 presidential election. They have not a teeny tiny shred of principle to stand on, and it is past time for the traditional media to see the way Republicans have turned ruthless partisan hypocrisy into the core of their party’s identity and say it out loud, rather than pretending to take at face value their claims about things like opposing the confirmation of a massively qualified judge to the Supreme Court.

The good news is that Jackson is expected to be confirmed. The bad news is that Republicans are once again demonstrating their commitment to breaking the government and dividing the nation—and using racism to do it whenever convenient.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.

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