FLASHBACK: Joy Reid Swoons Over ‘Wonderful’ College Pal Ketanji Brown Jackson

February 25th, 2022 11:57 AM

On Friday morning, media reports said President Biden would nominate D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. Brown — who previously defended a Guantanamo Bay detainee — has received plenty of support from the left in the past year. Most notably, endorsement came from MSNBC’s The ReidOut host Joy Reid, who’s called her “wonderful” and said they knew each other in college.

Reid covered Jackson’s appeals court nomination back on March 30, 2021, boasting it “cement[ed] Jackson’s front-runner status for the Supreme Court” and a contrast to the “barely qualified, white male ideologue judges that Donald Trump and his Senate henchman Mitch McConnell rammed through.”



She revealed she “happen[s] to know Ketanji Brown Jackson,” adding that “I knew her as Ketanji Brown when we were in college, so I think she’s wonderful.”

MSNBC legal analyst and former Obama solicitor general Neal Katyal agreed, gushing that Jackson’s “brilliant,” “collegial,” “not a bomb thrower,” and possesses “a deep soul.”

Skip ahead to Christmas Eve and Reid cited the Supreme Court as her “Absolute Worst” for 2021 because they supposedly “failed” in obeying their oaths to the Constitution and “discern[ing] right from wrong[.]”

Reid added that the current Court “only...protect[s] the rich, the powerful, the corporations, the religious extremists” and, with that in mind, she “hope[s] Ketanji Brown will eventually be on there, set things right, and stare weird at Clarence Thomas if he's still on there with her.”

She continued:

They have three Trumpers on there, and they are doing exactly what Donald Trump wants...[G]oodbye to Roe v. Wade...Vote based on the court. The court is important...God help us if that court is supposed to be our salvation, because they ain't doing it.

Katyal had more fawning praise for Jackson in 2021, calling her “amazing” in a June 9, 2021 hit on Deadline: White House and, six days later on the same show, he said Jackson’s “impeccably qualified.”

Prior to that latter statement, host Nicolle Wallace gushed that Jackson’s D.C. circuit confirmation was the latest step for “an impressive rising star” with higher ambitions even though “Mitch McConnell is on a mission to obstruct.”

Katyal was back with Wallace on December 22, 2021, when he referred to Jackson as one of the “influential superstar[s]” Biden elevated to what’s seen as America’s second-highest court.

After it leaked on January 26 that Breyer would be retiring, Reid and her panel went to the mat for whomever Biden would pick, leveling charges of racism, “stupid[ity],” and slander against Republicans. For her part, Reid insisted a Black woman would counteract the “scandalous” stain on America from having Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas on the high court (click “expand”):

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: The statement that was made by the senator from Missouri [Josh Hawley] about appointing someone who loves the country, that was stupid and it was almost slanderous. Any sitting President is going to do this, even a president you may not agree with, shows how — how far our country has come.


REID: Elie, you know, I think — I think we know what Josh Hawley meant when he said who loves America...Any of these nominees who are Black women are going to automatically, you know, be called the human embodiment of critical race theory and they’re going to be gone after on issues that are very directly related to race. The argument against them will be highly racialized by Republicans, because by love of America, they mean the uncritical of America’s history when it comes to race and specifically when it comes to Black people. That’s how I read it.


ELIE MYSTAL: [L]et’s dispense with the qualifications argument. All of the women...are immaculately qualified...[W]e should have no issue about their qualifications to say nothing of their moral qualification, because I’m pretty sure, and in fact, that I’m pretty sure that Joe Biden will not nominate somebody who has been credibly accused of trying to rape somebody when they were in high school. I am pretty sure, I don’t know this for a fact, that Joe Biden will not nominate somebody; who has been accused of perjury in front of Congress[.]


REID: I feel like, in some ways, Republican nominations have either been sort of a bait and switch on — on Black folks as when Clarence Thomas was nominated to replace the great Thurgood Marshall, and so what they’re saying here, we’re going to give you a Black person, but it’s going to be somebody whose agenda on the court, it’s going to be into ethical to everything Thurgood Marshall stood for..[T]here was sort of — or like punitive or the highly stringently ideological irregardless [sic] or regardless of their moral qualifications, you think of a Kavanaugh and same thing with Clarence Thomas of things they were accused of. And the fact that, that Court decides whether woman have control over our bodies, with two men on it like that, is — is scandalous for a democracy.


CARMON: [Y]ou’re already seeing Republican legal elites attack, for example, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson...using the same playbook that you saw, used against Justice Sonia Sotomayor and one of those is saying like attacking her intelligence despite the sterling credentials that Elie laid out. Again, very racialized, very misogynistic overtones[.]


REID [TO BESCHLOSS]: You know how important is it just from the big picture to at least have Black women...to look across that — that — you know, that lectern, as people like Kavanaugh and Thomas, et cetera, are taking our rights away?

Worse yet, New York Magazine’s Irin Carmon praised Breyer for stepping down and avoiding the same fate as her idol Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who allowed President Trump to rob Ginsberg of “her dying wish” and instead appoint Amy Coney Barrett, whom Carmon dismissed as unqualified due to “a very thin resume.”

Carmon gave away the game on the abortion industry’s dependence on taking advantage of Black women, lamenting they’re “disproportionately affected by” abortion restrictions, so it’s necessary “to have a Black woman...speaking up to the Brett Kavanaughs and the Neil Gorsuchs of the world.”

To see the relevant Brown transcripts, click here for the 2021 highlights and here for 2022.