After three days of contentious hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the overall consensus appears to be that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s eminently qualified nominee to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, acquitted herself brilliantly against a wave of Republican attacks whose familiar vitriol seemed to wear especially thin. CNN reports:
Though [Judge Brown’s] approval seems all but sure — Democrats are aiming for a vote before Easter — Republicans kept trying to chip away at her record.
In more than 12 hours of testimony on Tuesday, and into the evening again on Wednesday, GOP senators aggressively questioned her on the sentences she has handed down to child pornography offenders in her nine years as a federal judge, her legal advocacy on behalf of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, her thoughts on critical race theory and even her religious views…
Republicans spent much of Wednesday focused on her sentencing, particularly on the child pornography cases, as they had on Tuesday. Tempers rose as the day wore on, with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin slamming down his gavel at one point when Cruz refused to yield after his time expired while he was grilling Jackson.
“You can bang it as long as you want,” Cruz snapped, shouting that he just wanted Jackson to answer his question.
“At some point you have to follow the rules,” Durbin shot back.
Judge Jackson’s supposed leniency on the issue of kiddie porn, which is an allegation so lurid that it’s difficult for reasonable people to simply accept at face value, appears to be the central plank in the Republican Party’s case against her confirmation. As hearings opened this week, Colorado’s two farthest-right members of Congress, Reps. Lauren Boebert and Ken Buck, sent a letter calling for the Justice Department to investigate Judge Jackson’s “profoundly troubling pattern of leniency towards some of the most disturbing crimes in our society.” The Colorado Republican Party cheered them on:
The problem, which quickly emerged in the hearing but didn’t stop its proponents during three agonizing days of questioning, is that the allegation is completely without merit. Judge Jackson’s sentencing in these cases was in no way out of the ordinary or inconsistent with the rest of the judiciary. At length as Republican firebreathers Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley beat the question to death, fellow Republican Mitt Romney signaled to to the Washington Post that his colleagues were going too far:
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) appeared unmoved by the allegations from some of his conservative colleagues that have ignored key context such as that prosecutors also recommended sentences lower than the sentencing guidelines. “It struck me that it was off course, meaning the attacks were off course that came from some,” Romney told The Washington Post’s Paul Kane on Tuesday. “And there is no there, there.” [Pols emphasis]
Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post goes deeper into the misleading attacks on Judge Jackson by Sen. Hawley in particular, who suggested instances in which Jackson was repeating back assertions by witnesses were her actual views. In the “post-truth” era of American politics, this kind of rank dishonesty is commonplace–but against Judge Jackson, who fended off all of these attacks imperturbably, it seems to be evoking a more negative response and in turn more sympathy for Jackson.
So where does that leave our local carnival barkers who kicked off the week pushing this baseless and now thoroughly-repudiated smear against Judge Jackson? Obviously, not looking good–especially since Gallup says that Judge Jackson has the highest initial support for her nomination of any recent nominee going back to the 1980s. Ironically, this ugly campaign against Judge Jackson is dominating the headlines the same week gubernatorial candidate
Hiedi Heidi Ganahl launched what appears to be her her fourth rebranding effort, a new soft-touch “Ganahl’s Gals” initiative. Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearings represent a chance, and some Republicans like Sen. Romney might still take it, to transcend political bitterness and mark a brief return to the era when qualified Supreme Court nominees received bipartisan support regardless of ideological quibbles.
But that was the path not chosen by our local Republicans. Today, Colorado Republicans are at the center of another dishonest smear campaign against a figure who is prevailing in the court of public opinion despite their best efforts.