Editorial: It's a mistake for NC's senators to reject Brown Jackson for Supreme Court justice

1 April 2022

CBC Editorial: Thursday, March 31, 2022; Editorial #8750
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

As she’s already done twice before the U.S. Senate, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson demonstrated again she has knowledge, poise and temperament – even amid the most challenging of circumstances. This third time it is to gain a seat on United States Supreme Court.

Don’t take our word for it. See what North Carolina’s Sen. Thom Tillis said during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings.

“I’ve thought you’ve done a great job over the last two days,” Tillis told Brown Jackson. “I thought that you presented yourself well and there was a lot of pressure. That demonstrates a certain temperament or poise. … I just want to commend you, your family, your daughter who has been glowing every time you talk. And I appreciate your service.”

That’s coming from a Republican who admits she is “well qualified” to join the nation’s highest court but still refuses, as Tillis announced Wednesday, to vote for her confirmation. The content of her character and experience, to Tillis, apparently isn’t as important as political affiliation when it comes to affirming the first African-American woman to the Supreme Court.

Though he should, it is unlikely that Tillis will reconsider his opposition to Brown Jackson. North Carolina’s other senator Richard Burr needs to set aside any reflexive partisanship and support her nomination. After all he promised independence and particularly since he’s not facing re-election this year should exercise it.

She’s been badgered with misleading and inaccurate portrayals of her sentencing history on child sex abuse defendants and her earlier work as a public defender on behalf of those being held at Guantanamo Bay. As she’s stood her ground amid some vicious and nasty badgering, she’s done it with grace and deference. A stark contrast to how now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh behaved during his 2018 confirmation hearing.

The tone of questions – at times condescending, pseudo-outrage or dismissive – from Senators Lindsay Graham (who voted FOR her to be a court of appeals judge), Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, John Hawley, Marsha Blackburn failed to diminish Brown Jackson’s stature while revealing the desperation of her questioners.

Her refusal to get into a discussion or debate over whether the high court should be expanded from its current nine members, is no reason to reject her. It’s not her issue and has nothing to do with her ability to sit on the court.

Tillis said he worries that Brown Jackson will “legislate from the bench instead of consistently following the Constitution.” Her repeated reply to such concerns: “I am committed to serving as an even-handed Supreme Court justice if I’m confirmed by this body,” Jackson said. “I have a record over the past decade that’s precisely how I’ve treated all of my cases. … My record demonstrates my impartiality.”

She’s backed President Donald Trump’s administration positions, including ruling the Department of Homeland Security could waive environmental laws to build a part of the border wall with Mexico.

While Tillis and others have expressed concerns that Brown Jackson is backed by heavily financed “far-left special interest groups,” they failed to express similar worries as dark-money groups mobilized as much as $250 million to promote conservative Republicans to top judicial posts.

There is NO argument over Brown Jackson’s ability to do the job – she’s recognized as highly qualified as even Tillis admits.

A knowledgeable, well-abled, good person has been nominated to serve on the nation’s Supreme Court.

Our senators should follow their rhetoric and conscience – not their partisan political party dictates – and like fellow Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine vote FOR Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice.

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