Flowers: Will Judge Brown Jackson get the Kavanaugh grilling?

Published 10:37 am Friday, March 25, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

I certainly hope that the hearings on Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination, which started on Monday, are what Sen. Dick Durbin wants them to be: “Respectful and dignified.” That would be such a pleasant change from recent experience.

I imagine that there are no friends from the nominee’s past who just now remember a high school party she “might” have attended where there “might” have been inappropriate activity on a night that no one else can actually recall. That would be a terrible shame, and trigger such an unfortunate series of events, not to mention some really mediocre “Saturday Night Live” sketches.

Let’s pray that there aren’t going to be any folks digging through the judge’s past religious affiliations, looking for evidence that she belongs to a cult. It would be so regrettable if Judge Brown’s family and former associates happened to be dragged through the mud by political partisans, who only care about ensuring that an ideologue of their particular tribe makes it to the high court.

I’m still bitter about what happened during the Trump years when Democrats treated the nomination process as successive inquisitions of conservatives they mistrusted at best, hated at worst. While they sheathed their claws when Neil Gorsuch was nominated to replace Antonin Scalia (even though they were justifiably outraged that Merrick Garland was deprived a hearing) they went nuclear when it came to Brett Kavanaugh. The character assassination of that man was so brutal and so unjustified that it dwarfed what happened to Robert Bork a generation earlier.

It’s hard to hear people plead for fairness and respect for Ketanji Brown Jackson when these are some of the same people who vilified Amy Coney Barrett for being a devout Catholic, having a lot of children and not being a judge for very long prior to being elevated to the bench. Brown Jackson is clearly a qualified candidate, having graduated with honors from Harvard undergraduate and law schools, and presiding as a federal judge since 2013. There is no reason that her qualifications should be questioned. But then again, neither should Kavanaugh or Coney Barrett (or Bork, or Clarence Thomas) have been. All of them, with the exception of Barrett, were Ivy grads and all of them had long and distinguished careers in academia or on the bench.

But legal pedigrees are not the things that excite senators and the media, who feed like vampires on the blood of nomination carnage. The real show, the real meat of the matter, is how a prospective justice thinks. If they do not align well with one particular extreme of either party (and lately that party has been the Democrats,) the hearings are turned into events that would make Nero happy.

So to hear Democrats plead for civility this time around is a bit rich, given the way they’ve treated the last Republican nominees. From accusations of rape to suggestions that one female nominee is a living incubator or a “Handmaid,” the nomination process has been macabre. So while I do hope that Republicans act with infinitely more grace than their liberal brothers and sisters shown themselves capable of, I have a big problem being preached to by those holier-than-thou hypocrites on the left.

There is little doubt that even the most unpredictable Democrats like Manchin and Sinema will vote to confirm Brown Jackson, because there isn’t anything particularly radical in her past or present. Yes, she went out of her way to represent Guantanamo detainees, but that was a personal choice that many other attorneys made, and while I don’t agree with it, I remember John Adams representing the British after the Boston Massacre and I accept it as part of the oath we take to the constitution.

The fact that there is an even 50-50 split in the Senate and that another woman of color is set to cast the deciding vote, the likelihood that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will not become Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is slim to none. And that’s fine, elections have consequences and Biden gets to choose who he wants.

But please, progressives, do not dare lecture us about “dignity and respect” after decades of spitting on those hallowed principles when the people in front of you didn’t share your values, your skin color, your sexual apparatus or your conception of faith.

That sound you’ll hear is bitter, raucous, incredulous laughter at your (excuse the pun) supreme nerve.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at