Jayapal rebukes GOP over 'baseless and frankly racist' attacks on Judge Jackson

Jayapal rebukes GOP over 'baseless and frankly racist' attacks on Judge Jackson
Pramila Jayapal image via Screengrab

In the wake of this week's Supreme Court hearings—during which Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was forced to endure what critics called "absolutely ridiculous" questions from Senate Republicans—Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Friday commended President Joe Biden's nominee for maintaining her composure and denounced GOP lawmakers for engaging in "racist attacks."

"At the conclusion of the week of hearings, it could not be clearer why President Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court, and how deeply deserving she is of confirmation," Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement. "Her knowledge, breadth of experience, and skill as a jurist were on full display under questioning."

"Her empathy, passion, and commitment to equal justice under law could not be dimmed, even with shameful attacks thrown at her," Jayapal continued. "In the face of outrageous treatment from Republicans on the committee, she showed what can only be described as judicial temperament."

Jackson's years of experience as a public defender have been cited as clear evidence of her commitment to upholding the constitutional rights of all—including criminal defendants without the means to hire an attorney and detainees at Guantánamo Bay.

Nevertheless, said Jayapal, "the Republican Party—from senators on the committee, to members of the caucus, to campaign arms on social media—have used this occasion not to undertake a serious constitutional obligation, but rather to berate, hector, and discredit the first Black woman nominated to the high court."

Several Republicans have been criticized for their abrasive conduct toward Jackson. That includes, but is not limited to, Sen. Lindsay Graham (S.C.), who spent much of his time complaining about the treatment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his 2018 confirmation hearing; Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), who deployed QAnon tropes in an attempt to smear Jackson for what he suggested was her failure to adequately punish sex offenders; and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), who demanded to know what Jackson thinks about children's books that promote anti-racism.

"Even as America applauds how Judge Jackson endured the hearings with fortitude and grace under fire, it demands to be said: she should not have been subjected to this treatment in the first place," said Jayapal. "The baseless and frankly racist attacks we have seen in recent days demean the Senate Judiciary Committee and these proceedings, and disparage the nominee to an unacceptable degree."

"Judge Jackson's treatment will unfortunately be all too familiar to women, especially women of color and particularly Black women," she continued. "We can recall every moment we've experienced what can at best be described as antagonizing and at worst as bullying."

"But of course," Jayapal added, "Judge Jackson responded as Black women and women of color will also recognize: with poise and unflappable dignity. I join millions around the country in applauding her nomination, her performance throughout these hearings, and look forward to recognizing her as Justice Jackson."

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