The New York Times front page went all in in feverish support of Biden Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Friday’s front page, with reliable Democratic defender Carl Hulse viciously and hypocritically attacking Republicans for peppering Jackson with policy questions in a “news analysis,” “A Broken Confirmation Process on Full Display.”
Four years after the Democrats’ disgusting display in the hearings for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Washington correspondent Hulse, who relished Kavanaugh’s (temporary) loss of personal reputation, now weeps over how the Republicans mistreated the “historic….highly qualified” nominee Jackson.
The Republican manhandling of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson this week was convincing evidence that the Senate’s Supreme Court confirmation process is irredeemably broken.
NOW the process is broken?
The aggressively hostile interrogation of Judge Jackson, featuring political dog-whistling and relentless re-litigating of Supreme Court feuds of the past, marred what could have been not only a reset for the Senate, but a significant national moment in seeing the first Black woman ascend to the pinnacle of American jurisprudence with strong support.
Instead it was an escalation of what has come before it in recent years: toxic partisanship, bitter attacks and nasty questioning full of innuendo about the supposed character failings of a nominee who will likely carry the scars across the street to the high court.
“Do you believe child predators are misunderstood?” Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, asked in one of the many loaded queries aimed at defining Judge Jackson as some sort of pedophile enabler, despite years of lauded service on the bench.
The nominee’s failure on a tenet of basic biology was cast aside.
She was questioned about the definition of “woman,” at a time when transgender rights are a hot-button issue, and grilled repeatedly about her views of antiracism and critical race theory.
If there were any Supreme Court confirmation that could have gone differently, it was this one.
Judge Jackson is a historic nominee, rated as highly qualified even by her critics….
Republican leaders had been determined to show that they could be better than Democrats in challenging the nominee of the president of the other party in a respectful way. And they feared the tableau of white Republican men ganging up on a Black woman would not sit well in an election year.
But Republicans could not help themselves. In long days of questioning, many of them tried to destroy Judge Jackson, or at least drag her through the muck on her way to a confirmation they knew was certain if Democrats remained united behind her.
In the end, the allure of media attention coupled with the strong gravitational pull of the right fringe of their party proved too much for many Republicans to resist….
Plus, Republicans continue to seek revenge for Democrats’ treatment of their party’s nominees dating back 35 years, and are particularly livid at what they consider the vicious attacks on Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh by Democrats during his confirmation four years ago.
That led to the worst part: Hulse’s defense of Democratic behavior during the Kavanaugh hearings.
But Justice Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by someone who agreed to testify under oath at his confirmation hearing, a far different circumstance from that of Judge Jackson, who faced a barrage of questions that suggested she was a radical on social issues and a coddler of child sex abusers. And though the Kavanaugh hearings were explosive, Democrats at least agreed to hold them, unlike Republicans who had blockaded President Barack Obama’s 2016 nominee, Merrick Garland.
And Republicans agreed to hear Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford, and agreed to delay the vote for a full week for an FBI investigation.
The Times is mad the Republicans made an issue of Jackson’s sentencing records. Four years ago, the Democrats exhibited blow-up charts of Brett Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook and questioned him about impenetrable yearbook slang to prove he was a high school drunkard. Sen. Amy Klobuchar wondered if he ever got blackout drunk.
Outside the hearing room, Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii suggested the rape allegations against Kavanaugh were more believable because of his conservative ideology. Sleazy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti accused Kavanaugh of running a rape-train in high school. These things are not even close to being the same.
Meanwhile, Hulse, a reliable Democratic defender, was incensed on behalf of his preferred party that Judge Jackson had to suffer…policy questions.
It’s quite nervy for Hulse to accuse Republicans of “vilification” post-Kavanaugh:
Where this leaves the state of Supreme Court reviews is hard to know. The Jackson hearing seemed to open a new frontier in vilification by focusing so heavily on her sentencing history, meaning any sentences handed down by future nominees will now become fodder for attack.