We’re off to the races with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings, where the worst of the worst Republicans senators (why do they all have to be on this committee?) will prove their reputations. Today all 22 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee—11 Democrats and 11 Republicans—will make their
five [sob] ten-minute opening statements.
Jackson will be introduced by retired Judge Thomas Griffith, a conservative George W. Bush nominee who served on the D.C. Circuit, and Lisa Fairfax, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and a lifelong friend of Jackson’s. Then Jackson makes her opening statement. Questions will be in Tuesday’s hearing, outside witnesses Wednesday.
Chair Dick Durbin gavels in the hearing. Sen. Marsha Blackburn already showed how awful she’s going to be, with a video about her upcoming questions, including Griswold (do we have the right to use birth control) and the decision that upheld the Affordable Care Act.
Durbin tries to remind Republicans that history will remember how they behave in this process. Like they give a damn.
Note, there seems to be mic issues on most feeds. The committee website livestream doesn’t have the mic drops.
Durbin reminding Republicans as well that KBJ is one of the most examined nominees before them, having been through 4 other Senate confirmations. He’s rebutting the main complaints from Rs—Grassley on not having enough info, McConnell on how the “dark money” groups are behind her, the “soft on crime” dogwhistles.
Now Grassley. He’s setting out what Rs are going to do—thorough, exhaustive examination. Won’t try to turn it into a spectacle. Right. Now bitching about Kavanaugh hearings and how Dems were mean to him in his opening statement.
If it wasn’t so early in the day, we could do a drinking game. Kavanaugh! Originalism!
Grassley: judges shouldn’t “impose their own policy preferences from the bench.” Uh, huh. Absolutely nothing in our politics is as twisted as the GOP hypocrisy on the judiciary.
Grassley still complaining that they didn’t get every scrap of paper from when she was on the Sentencing Commission. That was his ploy to delay the hearings. Like we’ll forget the thousands of Kavanaugh docs that were withheld by the former guy. And the non-existent FBI investigation of his alleged sexual abuse of several women.
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) says Judge Jackson is “no judicial activist” and “she’s not soft on crime” and is from a “law enforcement family.” Talks about the breadth of her experience.
Leahy: “Judge Jackson, with your presence here today, you are writing a new page in the history of America—a good page.” I do hope that these Democrats won’t dance around the edges of Republican racism, that they won’t allow the supposed tradition of comity and respect of the hearing room to slap them down. They’re going to need to be tough and unified on this, and not do what they usually do—grandstand for the cameras.
Sen. Lindsey Graham might just be drunk. Anyway, we’re getting a litany of grievances from him about the conservative Black and Latino judges the Democrats blocked. He just told Hawley to cut loose on the QAnon stuff. Now he’s bitching about Soros and the dark money and the attacks from the left on his pick, Childs.
Graham is really on a grievance roll, about everything. Especially that Childs didn’t get the nod. He also might be drunk. He’s apparently feeling constrained about not being as racist as he wants to be about this.
Now Graham’s on about the radical left. Tells her she’s going to have to answer if she thinks the court should be expanded. A question, by the way, that Amy Coney Barrett did not answer—she said it was up to Congress.
There is this.
Feinstein up now.
Feinstein is the first to get more into issues—particularly criminal justice, the environment, and abortion. Relates Jackson’s resume again, focuses on her clerkship to the justice she would be replacing, Stephen Breyer.
Cornyn. Starts out more cordially than the other two Rs so far.
What Elie Mystal says on Cornyn (R-TX): “He’s talking about how many confirmation hearings he’s been a part of. I honestly feel like Cornyn has never once added anything to these proceedings. He… basically can’t keep up. He doesn’t know the law well enough.”
Cornyn on the dark money again. From WaPo: “Judicial Crisis Network alone, meanwhile, said it spent $10 million on ads backing Barrett in 2020.”
Now Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI): says it’s refreshing to have a “qualified” and experienced judge not produced by the “dark money turnstile” of the right.
Whitehouse is so great. “You weren’t groomed in a partisan Petri dish” but here through a real vetting process. He’s hitting the Federalist Society and the vast dark money and what’s that done to the courts and the Senate. He’s got an amazing grasp on the network behind the right on this, and has done some very good work on it.
Now Mike Lee (R-UT) again starting out politely. Acknowledges her experience. Goes on again about respect and how mean Democrats were to Kavanaugh (“personal attacks”) without naming names. They are also so proud of putting an alleged sexual assaulter on the court.
Lee is playing constitutional law professor. Based on what the White male slaveholders—under God—meant the constitution to be. As interpreted as a conservative White man. He still makes it incredibly boring.
Now Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Again talking about family, personal experience. Emphasizes how important and historic this nomination is—first Black woman in more than two centuries and how overdue it is.
One part of Klobuchar’s statement is important—highlighting Jackson as a working mom. It was such a HUGE deal to Republicans on Barrett, to try to defang her crazy fundamentalist anti-abortion religious thing. They don’t get to monopolize the sanctity of motherhood. Anyway. Klobuchar the first to bring up the threat to voting rights the Court is posing right now.
Good statement from Klobuchar. “You are opening a door . . that has long been shut” to so many.” You are showing so many children across the country that “anything and everything is possible.”
Now would be a good time to do the drinking thing, if you’re doing it. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Lecturing. Saying that the Supreme Court changed in the 60s and 70s when it started ignoring Congress and making policy. Gee, suppose he’s talking about civil and voting rights? He’s such a puke.
Asshole uses this to plug “my weekly podcast.” Now he’s going on and on and on about grievances. Once again invokes Robert Bork and once again ignoring the fact that he got a vote on the floor and Republicans voted against him. And also invoking Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh and how Democrats were so mean PRETENDING THAT THE TWO OF THEM ARE NOT NOW SITTING ON THE GODDAMNED COURT.
Palate cleanser for everybody sitting through Cruz, who makes you long to hear more from Mike Lee.
Up now Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) who is at least not Ted Cruz. Not likely to bring anything particularly enlightening with his statement, but certainly competent in delivering it.
We’re really getting the Jackson resume reiteration here from Coons. Yeah, she knows all this stuff that she’s done. As do we. Not a particularly effective use of time, but at least he’s talking about the outside supportive letter about her they’ve received.
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