Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson (KBJ) when her nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit came before the Senate in 2021. It’s not looking good for a yes vote from him as she hopes to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. The Senate begins confirmation hearings this week.
McConnell appeared on Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS. Host Margaret Brennan doggedly tried to get him to say if he will vote for KBJ. (Note that like other females up for a seat on the Supreme Court, her three names are shortened to initials. The same happened with Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) and Amy Coney Barrett (ACB). Anyway, McConnell didn’t back down and didn’t deny that he has some serious doubts about her. He reminded viewers that he didn’t vote to confirm KBJ for her current job and said he will wait until she answers questions in her Senate confirmation hearings. That is how it should be, of course, yet Brennan persisted. McConnell tipped his hand a little as he said that during the traditional introductory meeting with her in his office, she refused to say if she supports packing the Supreme Court by expanding the number of justices. He asked, he said, because both RBG and Justice Breyer, who provides the open seat with his retirement, gave their opinions on the subject. Both answered that they do not support expanding the Supreme Court.
By not answering a pretty basic question, she likely will not get many Republican senators to vote in her favor. In today’s hyper-charged political atmosphere, Supreme Court nomination hearings are as hyper-partisan as anything else in Washington. The topic of packing the Supreme Court – by either side of the aisle – is a hot button issue. KBJ may have been coy with McConnell but I’m sure one of the other senators will ask when she goes before the Senate Judicial Committee. I can easily imagine any of the Republicans on that committee asking for her answer.
Here’s what Margaret Brennan did when McConnell remained mum on how he anticipates voting – she played the “but it’s an historic nomination” card. This is malarkey. To ask how someone could not vote for KBJ, as potentially the first black woman on the Supreme Court, reduces the nominee to little more than an affirmative action pick. But she’s a black woman. Please. Look for some Democrat woman senator to note that this is National Women’s History Month. As such, we should expect KBJ to be held to the same standard as a male nominee, nothing more, nothing less. Was anyone in the media asking Democrats how they could possibly oppose ACB’s nomination because she’s a woman? No, because she’s a white woman and a conservative, too. Therefore, her nomination was not celebrated as others. We know how this game is played.
When KBJ was nominated by the Race- Baiter- in- Chief, McConnell released a statement that foreshadows a no vote. It was a cordial statement but firm.
I congratulate Judge Jackson on her nomination. I look forward to meeting with her in person and studying her record, legal views, and judicial philosophy.
Senate Republicans believe the Court and the country deserve better than Senate Democrats’ routine of baseless smears and shameless distortions. The Senate must conduct a rigorous, exhaustive review of Judge Jackson’s nomination as befits a lifetime appointment to our highest Court. This is especially crucial as American families face major crises that connect directly to our legal system, such as skyrocketing violent crime and open borders.
I voted against confirming Judge Jackson to her current position less than a year ago. Since then, I understand that she has published a total of two opinions, both in the last few weeks, and that one of her prior rulings was just reversed by a unanimous panel of her present colleagues on the D.C. Circuit. I also understand Judge Jackson was the favored choice of far-left dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the Court itself.
With that said, I look forward to carefully reviewing Judge Jackson’s nomination during the vigorous and thorough Senate process that the American people deserve.
If I had to guess, I’d say that KBJ would be ok with court-packing. She is being portrayed as a moderate by her supporters but she is of the progressive left.
Ketanji Brown Jackson will be confirmed by the Senate and she will replace Justice Breyer when he steps down. The question is how many Republicans will vote for her. KBJ doesn’t need any Republican votes to be confirmed, if all Democrats are present to vote for her, but it would be a feather in Biden’s cap to be able to brag about bi-partisan support for her. Perhaps the usual suspects will vote with Democrats – Susan Collins, who has already said it’s “clear that her credentials and the breadth of her experience are impressive” after meeting with her, as well as maybe Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski. In the past I would have included Lindsey Graham because he is usually old-school enough to go by the premise that a president is entitled to his nominees unless there is past criminal conduct to disqualify him or her. But then the Kavanaugh nomination happened and Democrats outdid themselves to show what hideous cretins they can be and I think Graham still smarts from that epic battle. We’ll know more as the week proceeds.
What we won’t see, as McConnell pointed out this morning, is the kind of hearings that Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett endured at the hands of Democrat opponents. We won’t hear Senator Feinstein insult KBJ’s religious faith, as she did to ACB. Remember when Feinstein said, “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” of ACB’s Roman Catholic faith? I seriously doubt that Senate Republicans will go back to KBJ’s high school and college yearbooks and ask inane questions about college slang and party language as they did against Kavanaugh. Republicans will likely ask pointed and compelling questions of her, as they should, but probably will not make it personal. They will keep it to legal decisions and rulings, again, as they should.
Democrats and their obedient foot soldiers in the media are pointing to Josh Hawley’s objection to KBJ using her time as a federal public defender. Hawley posted a long, 17 tweet thread saying she “has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker.” The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler fact-checked that thread and found it to be more about mandatory sentencing than letting offenders off the hook. She is a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission which works to reduce sentencing disparities. We’ll see if Hawley sparks any fiery debates during his time to question her.
In the end, the Senate will do their duty and hold hearings and question the nominee. When the time comes for a full Senate vote, she’ll be confirmed. She replaces Justice Breyer, also a Democrat, so it’s a wash as far as the make-up of the Supreme Court goes. The hearings will provide political theatre but the outcome is predetermined.