March 25, 2022

KBJ Is No Jackie Robinson

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson survived her confirmation hearings, and they weren’t nearly as bad as the Left would have you believe.

When Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier back in 1947, things were decidedly different than they are today. And although it’s taken our nation 75 years since then to put a black woman on the Supreme Court, it hasn’t been because of racism.

Indeed, some might say that Joe Biden’s decision to select a Supreme Court nominee purely because of her skin color is itself racist. In any case, any comparison between what Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has endured this week at the hands of Senate Republicans and what Jackie Robinson endured during his first season as a Brooklyn Dodger is … odious. As Robinson himself wrote, a home game at Ebbets Field that year on Tuesday, April 22, nearly got the best of him:

Starting to the plate in the first inning, I could scarcely believe my ears. Almost as if it had been synchronized by some master conductor, hate poured forth from the [Philadelphia] Phillies dugout.

“Hey, n*gger, why don’t you go back to the cotton field where you belong?”

“They’re waiting for you in the jungles, black boy.”

“Hey, snowflake, which one of those white boys’ wives are you dating tonight?”

“We don’t want you here, n*gger.”

“Go back to the bushes!”

Judge Jackson, on the other hand, was subjected to questions about the Dred Scott decision, and the Equal Protection clause, and the beginning of life, and the definition of a woman, and the time she spent on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and the proper degree of punishment for those who dabble in child pornography. That sort of thing. In addition, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson thought it’d be helpful if Jackson made her LSAT scores public, especially given that Biden had earlier called her “one of the nation’s brightest legal minds.”

And yet, wrote USA Today’s Mike Freeman: “When watching Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson endure racial insult after insult during her confirmation hearings over the past few days, with some of that racism coming even before the process began, one person kept coming to mind: Jackie Robinson.”

Jackson, Freeman said, “faced blistering racism with calm and grace.”

Again, it’s odious. It wasn’t quite as bad as when University of Pennsylvania swimmer Will Lia Thomas compared himself to Robinson, but it was close.

It wasn’t just one deceitful scribe at USA Today, either. As The Washington Free Beacon reports:

The Washington Post’s editorial board on Wednesday said Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have behaved “worse” during confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson than Democrats did for Brett Kavanaugh.“

The editors said that while Kavanaugh was "credibly accused” of sexually assaulting a woman, “Republicans have smeared Judge Jackson based on obvious distortions of her record and the law” by bringing up her rulings involving child pornography and Guantanamo Bay detainees. Citing “clownish performances” by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), as well as the failure to confirm now-attorney general Merrick Garland in 2016, they said Republican senators “have done the most damage” in politicizing the Supreme Court confirmation process.

Decency Dies in Darkness.

Judge Jackson survived her grueling ordeal, and she doesn’t seem to be the worse for it. Heck, Democrat Senator Cory Booker practically sang her a love song. All that’s left is the voting. As The Hill reports, “The committee is expected to vote on her nomination on April 4 and want her confirmed before leaving for a two-week break.” Democrats, of course, don’t need a single Republican vote to confirm Jackson’s nomination, as Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tiebreaking vote if necessary. But it’ll be interesting to see if she swayed any Republicans.

One vote she won’t get is the one that belongs to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “After studying the nominee’s record and watching her performance this week, I cannot and will not support Judge Jackson for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court,” McConnell said from the Senate floor, adding that he believes Jackson will engage in judicial activism. “This is the misunderstanding of the separation of powers that I’ve spent my entire career fighting against.”

UPDATE: It should be noted that Joe Biden wasn’t always so enthusiastic about putting a black woman on the Supreme Court. Back in 2005, when Republican President George W. Bush had California Supreme Court Associate Justice Janice Rogers Brown on his short list for replacing the retired Sandra Day O'Connor, Biden warned him: “I can assure you that would be a very, very, very difficult fight, and she probably would be filibustered.” With Joe Biden, it’s pure politics — then as now.

For more of our coverage on the KBJ hearings:

The KBJ Hearings Begin

Ketanji Brown Jackson Stumbles

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