Liberty and Justice For All: After partisan hearings, it’s time for a remarkable new Supreme Court Justice to take her seat


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Judge Jackson attends Senate confirmation hearings after President Biden’s nomination

After a few weeks away, Liberty and Justice for All is back, and it couldn’t be at a better time. This past week, Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (in other words, the United States’ second-highest court,) sat before the United States Senate in confirmation hearings; a few weeks before, President Joe Biden nominated her to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her hearings were divisive, with partisan posturing and pointed questions abound. Now, having cut through that noise, it is time for her to be confirmed.
From the founding of our nation to today, it has been clearly established in the U.S. Constitution that the Senate has a role to play in the nomination process for federal judges. Whenever a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court, it is up to the President to choose someone, but it is up to the Senate to give the ultimate approval, or denial, of that person’s qualification for the position. For centuries, the hearings and votes that this process involves were beneficial to the integrity of the high court; they set the standard for nominees as high as possible. And yet, politics today is more divided than ever, and the benefits of this process are waning.
In Jackson’s hearings, few Senators truly took the time to ensure she was prepared for a lifetime of prestigious judicial service. Instead, they took the time to grandstand, elevating their own political profiles. Most of this came from Republican senators, who largely oppose Jackson due to her nomination by a Democratic president. They asked her not about her years of experience, not about her decisions as Vice-Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission or her work as a public defender, no. Instead, they took the time to aggressively interrogate her about her opinions on issues they knew she wasn’t allowed to speak to (in avoidance of creating a conflict with cases coming up before the court) and wasted everyone’s time. They also asked her to define the word “woman,” whether babies are racist, and what would happen if Senator Ted Cruz decided he was an Asian man. Meanwhile, even Democratic senators couldn’t pass up the opportunity for political theater, prioritizing emotional speeches over informational discussions.
So, we didn’t learn much from the “hearings” that were really just a political show. But that’s okay, really. We already have everything we need to know. Jackson is eminently qualified; from Supreme Court clerk to judge at the highest levels, she has one of the most impressive backgrounds possible. And according to a public polling analysis by CNN, she has the most public support of any nominee since 2005.
So, what are we waiting for? After a new standard for the speed of confirmations was set by Justice Amy Coney Barret’s elevation in 2020, Jackson could easily take her seat soon. Democratic senators say they want her approved by Easter; I say, why not this week? Let’s get an amazing person on the nation’s highest court, helping it to protect liberty and justice for all in the decades to come.