Conservative slams 'insurrectionist' Josh Hawley for underhanded attack on Biden’s Supreme Court nominee

Conservative slams 'insurrectionist' Josh Hawley for underhanded attack on Biden’s Supreme Court nominee
Josh Hawley in Jackson, Missouri in 2018, Natureofthought

Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, started on Monday, March 21 — and far-right Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has been drawing a lot of criticism from Democrats for trying to paint Jackson as soft on child pornography. Some of the criticism has come from the right as well, and Never Trump conservative Charlie Sykes slams “insurrectionist” Hawley as deceitful and underhanded in a March 21 column for The Bulwark.

“There are a lot of substantive and provocative questions that senators should ask KBJ — George Will has a good rundown — but they are likely to be overshadowed by the clickbaity performance of Missouri’s Josh Hawley,” Sykes writes. “Hawley, of insurrectionist fist-bump fame, has made it clear that he will lead the charge to discredit Jackson.”

On March 16, Hawley tweeted, “As a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Judge Jackson advocated for drastic change in how the law treats sex offenders by eliminating the existing mandatory minimum sentences for child porn.” And Sykes notes that everyone from the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus to the conservative National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy has been calling him out. McCarthy described Hawley’s claims as “meritless to the point of demagoguery.”

Marcus, in response to Hawley’s anti-Jackson claims, explained, “Jackson didn’t argue for eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for child porn. She — and all the other members of the Sentencing Commission, Republican and Democratic — said that the mandatory minimum for receiving child porn should be reviewed, hardly a ‘drastic change.’”

Conservative Daily Beast columnist Matt Lewis, slamming Hawley in a March 22 column, stresses that one can critique Brown’s record without resorting to sleazy attacks. And writer Don Moynihan, Sykes notes, compared Hawley’s “lunacy” to the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement.

“After the ordeal that begins this week, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is likely to be confirmed on a narrow, possibly party-line vote,” Sykes writes. “There are no scandals, and her credentials stack up impressively against other nominees. Despite that, she may get only a handful of Republican votes. Collins? Murkowski? Romney? A quick reminder: this is not the way it used to be.”

Sykes goes on to point out that back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Supreme Court nominations generally weren’t nearly as contentious. Democratic senators confirmed Republican nominees; GOP senators confirmed Democratic nominees.

“Once upon a time, conservative Antonin Scalia was confirmed by the Senate on a 98-0 vote; RBG was confirmed 96-3,” Sykes recalls. “The justice that Judge Jackson will replace, Stephen Breyer, was confirmed by a margin of 87-9. The first woman on the Court, Sandra Day O’Connor, was confirmed by 99-0. The first African-American on the Court, Thurgood Marshall, received 69 votes when he was confirmed in 1967. As recently as 2010, Elena Kagan received 63 votes; a year earlier, Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed 68-31.”

Sykes continues, “Some nominations were more contentious. Clarence Thomas received only 52 votes; and Robert Bork was actually rejected on a 42-58 vote. But for the most part, qualified nominees were once routinely confirmed by overwhelming bipartisan votes…. Obviously, things have changed, and we’re about to see that play out once again starting this week.”


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