GOP senators treating Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings like a ‘trial run for 2024’: journalist

GOP senators treating Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings like a ‘trial run for 2024’: journalist

From Missouri’s Josh Hawley to Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn to Texas’ Ted Cruz, many Republican senators have engaged in nonstop buffoonery during the Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson — President Joe Biden’s 51-year-old nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. Certainly, Jackson should be asked tough questions, as she could be on the High Court 32 years from now if she is confirmed and lives as long as the 83-year-old Breyer. But what Biden’s nominee got from Hawley, Blackburn and Cruz was nothing more than vacuous culture war theatrics.

Vanity Fair’s Charlotte Klein, in an article published on March 23, explains why those far-right GOP senators have been so performative during the hearings — stressing that they’re looking ahead to the 2024 presidential race.

“Conservative lawmakers with presidential ambitions apparently see Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court confirmation hearings as a trial run for the 2024 Republican primary,” Klein explains. “Several Republicans reportedly considering a run for the White House next cycle sit on the Senate's judicial committee: Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Given the chance to grill President Joe Biden's pick for the Supreme Court, they questioned Jackson on things like critical race theory, child pornographers and parental rights — prioritizing soundbites best suited for Republican campaign ads over a serious evaluation of the federal judge up for a lifetime appointment.”

Klein continues, “Cruz, already a veteran of the Republican presidential primary, pressed Jackson on the children's books taught at the private Georgetown Day School, where Jackson serves on the board. Critical race theory, the high-level academic framework that Republicans have distorted to stoke a national panic over anti-racism teaching, of course, has little, if anything, to do with Jackson; it's not even taught in grade school. Cruz, who brought a stack of books to the hearing as well as a poster board depicting a page out of a picture book, nevertheless spent a good chunk of time on the culture-war issue during his 30-minute slot.”


It remains to be seen whether or not former President Donald Trump will seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. Some of the Republicans who are considering a presidential run two years from now would no doubt decide against it if Trump entered the race, as they’re terrified of saying or doing anything that might offend the former president.

But if Trump doesn’t run for president in 2024, the United States could see an ugly, brutally competitive GOP primary in which Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis competes with Cruz, Blackburn, Hawley and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin to show who is the most extreme.

Blackburn, according to Klein, sounded a lot like a Republican primary candidate when she was questioning Jackson.

“Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a rumored contender for the White House in 2024, claimed that the judge’s ‘public endorsement of this type of progressive indoctrination of our children’ raised concerns about ‘how (she) may rule on cases involving parental rights,’” Klein observes. “That was among several hot-button culture issues jammed into Blackburn’s opening statement, during which, she asked whether Jackson’s ‘hidden agenda’ is ‘to let violent criminals, cop killers, and child predators back to the streets’ or to ‘expand government’s reach into our schools and our private family decisions’ — among the galvanizing issues for conservatives and their base.”

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