Realizing their rabid attempts at blocking the historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson‘s Supreme Court nomination had officially failed, Senate Republicans still tried their damnedest to upstage Thursday’s vote in clear and apparent efforts to reinforce the disrespect they’ve repeatedly directed toward the person poised to become the first Black woman U.S. Supreme Court justice.
All but three Senate Republicans seemingly couldn’t wait to try to upstage the procedural vote before the final tally was certified by Vice President Kamala Harris, who was presiding over the vote in her capacity as the President of the U.S. Senate.
After 99 of the Senate’s 100 votes had been registered, it was revealed that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was not actually in attendance, which personified the disrespect he had already expressed to and about Jackson. Without Paul’s vote, the status of Brown’s nomination — which was never truly in doubt — stalled for an uncomfortable few minutes as it was unclear where the Republican Senator was.
Rand’s delay was reportedly caused by the khaki pants he was wearing, which he knows are not permitted under the Senate’s dress code.
While Paul ultimately showed up and finally cast his vote against Jackson, the delay epitomized Republicans’ disrespect during this Supreme Court confirmation process. That was especially true for Paul, who latched on to a disingenuous Republican line of questioning about Jackson’s alleged inability “define the difference between a man and a woman” that had nothing to do with her judicial record or ideology, both of which GOP Senate stooges distorted by intentionally revising her history.
Not to be outdone, though, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had his own purported wardrobe malfunction that was likely done on purpose so he wouldn’t have to be present to cast his vote against Jackson. Graham, who was pictured earlier in the day Thursday wearing a necktie — required attire for men in the Senate chamber — somehow arrived to vote without it.
That move ensured Graham wouldn’t have to bear witness to Jackson’s nomination being confirmed, something he has been vehemently against in part because he purportedly wanted a different Black woman — South Carolina judge Michelle Childs — to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
“The reason [Childs is] not the first African American woman on the Supreme Court is because they filibustered and denied her that ability,” Graham said Thursday while flanked by fellow Republican extremists Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee ahead of the vote. “They held her ideology against her, and said she was too extreme.”
While Graham fulfilled his Senate duty to vote, it was the disrespectful manner in which he voted that stood out more.
It should come as no surprise that Graham did everything he could to make sure he didn’t have to be present during Thursday’s vote.
The same person who has already voted twice to confirm Jackson to her previous positions on the federal bench also stormed out of last month’s confirmation hearing following a sharp exchange with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin over reckless and false allegations that Jackson’s past as a public defender would affect her ability to be impartial on the Supreme Court.
As if those two instances weren’t enough disrespect, Senate Republicans as a group walked directly off the Senate floor as their Democratic counterparts gave a standing ovation to mark the historical importance of the moment. The implication is that Senate Republicans refused to recognize that same significance.
And then, of course, there is the curious case of South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only Senate Republican who is Black. Scott now has the unfortunate distinction of voting against the person who will become the first Black woman Supreme Court justice.
In classic form, Scott previously said Jackson “has impressive credentials as a jurist, and I am grateful for her willingness to serve this country” before unabashedly switching his tune under questionable auspices.
“It is clear that Judge Jackson’s judicial philosophy and positions on the defining issues of our time make her the wrong choice for the Supreme Court,” Scott said just this week in a stunning reversal.
If there was any question about Scott’s racial legacy in the U.S. Senate, Thursday made it abundantly clear that the same man who famously insisted that the U.S. “is not a racist country” will be remembered on the absolute wrong side of Black American history.
The above instances were just the latest attempts by Republicans to discredit Jackson by heaping loads of disrespect on the esteemed jurist.
From cable news pundit Tucker Carlson demanding to see Jackson’s LSAT scores to the RNC falsely equating Jackson with critical race theory to Senate Republicans pushing racist misinformation about Jackson during her confirmation hearing to even finding a Black woman — described as a “Candace Owens variant” — to use as a racial prop denouncing critical race theory and Jackson to Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton insinuating that Jackson is a Nazi sympathizer based on her record as a public defender, Republicans have left no disrespectful, and many times racist, stone unturned during this process.
The entire situation underscored a sad but true sentiment eloquently expressed in a NewsOne op-ed by Jennifer R. Farmer, the author of “First and Only: A Black Woman’s Guide to Thriving at Work and in Life,” who wrote: “The frustrating thing is that Black women at all levels never get to a point where we do not face disrespect.”
Jackson is not the first Black woman to be disrespected during a Supreme Court confirmation process.
Anita Hill became a household name more than 30 years ago when testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee after accusing then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment when she worked for him at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. On Thursday, the Washington Post published an op-ed Hill wrote about how the “Senate Judiciary Committee mistreated” Jackson.
Writing from her own first-hand experience in a similar position, Hill labeled the Supreme Court confirmation process “broken” and called for it to be updated after witnessing how Senate Republicans disrespected Jackson.
“It was obvious that no matter how composed, respectful or brilliant her responses, her critics’ only goal was to discredit her,” Hill wrote before adding later:
“Women are vulnerable to sexist campaigns aimed at undermining their intelligence and integrity. And women of color must overcome both sexism and racism that is called into play. Ignoring Jackson’s credentials, her critics dismissively labeled her an affirmative action nominee and her opinions as outside the mainstream of acceptable legal reasoning.”