AP Mocked for Saying GOP Thinks Ketanji 'Brings Too Much Empathy'

March 26th, 2022 6:01 PM

The Associated Press (AP) was blasted by conservatives and Republicans on Friday for a story (and tweet) on Ketanji Brown Jackson claiming Democrats just want the Supreme Court to look "more like America," while Republicans think "Jackson brings too much empathy to the job." 

This was the tweet:

Reporter Lisa Mascaro wrote a very tilted story headlined "Supreme Court nominee’s ‘empathy’ is flashpoint for Senate."

WASHINGTON (AP) — Empathy is not a quality many Republican senators want to see in the next Supreme Court justice.

Traditionally considered an admirable attribute, the ability to empathize with another’s plight has become a touchstone for GOP opposition to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The first Black woman nominated to become a justice, Jackson brings a lifetime of experience never seen before on the high court, which has been filled almost exclusively by white men for most of its 233-year history.

Democrats praise President Joe Biden’s choice of the Harvard-educated lawyer and appellate court judge as long overdue, making the judicial branch begin to look more like America....

But on the other side of the Senate, Republicans lining up to oppose the historic nomination are warning that Jackson carries too much empathy to the job.

Mascaro also tweeted out the liberal AP spin:

Mascaro quoted a couple of Republicans, then doubled down: 

It’s not the first time the concept of empathy has been wielded as a disqualifying weapon against a nominee for the high court. Nor is it the only time the empathy standard was applied to the women tapped for the bench, rather than the much longer list of men.

More than a decade ago, Republicans lodged similar arguments against another trailblazing minority woman nominated by a Democrat to the Supreme Court — Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina justice, a Puerto Rican-American who grew up in the Bronx.

She preferred the word "empathy" to liberal. The L-word was only used as a Republican pounce: "the 'empathy standard' swiftly transformed into conservative legal catchphrase for liberal judges."

Drew Holden tweeted a dramatic contrast in AP coverage in comparison to Amy Coney Barrett in 2020:

The AP article on Barrett in this 2020 tweet also carried the byline of Lisa Mascaro (and two others). Back then, AP was alarmed at "conservative" and "anti-abortion" Barrett and her "Catholic faith."

Our own Curtis Houck tweeted "The AP thinks having 'too much empathy' for child predators is a marvelous thing and not something to scoff at."