Ketanji Brown Jackson Becomes First Black Woman Confirmed to the Supreme Court

 On one wall of the shebeen, there is a lovely sampler created by a regular. It is a quote from Doyle Lonnegan, the crime boss from The Sting, that has become popular among the other regulars as applied to many people and things in our politics. It reads:

“Not only are you a cheat, but you’re also a gutless cheat as well.”

So let’s talk about Senators Rand Paul, Jim Inhofe, and Lindsey Graham. Men who stood in the eye of history on Thursday and threw a bag over their heads. On Thursday afternoon, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, the first Black woman to be so confirmed. The final tally was 53-47, and it included the "yea" votes of Republicans Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Mitt Romney—who, as Democratic Senator Richard Durbin so gracefully noted, was standing in the shoes of his father, Governor George Romney of Michigan, who walked with Dr. King and stood against the Republican Party’s steady internalization of the flotsam of American apartheid. It was a fine moment for both Durbin and Romney.

All of the 47 negative votes came from Republicans who at least showed up in the chamber to spit in history’s eye. Even the likes of Marsha Blackburn, Josh Hawley, and Tailgunner Ted Cruz, who held a spiteful press conference before the vote, came through and let people hear them vote against Jackson.

This brings us to our trio of unprincipled poltroons.

Paul delayed the vote for half an hour. All of them cast their votes against the nominee from the seclusion of the Senate cloakroom. From CNN:

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma voted from the GOP cloakroom because they weren't wearing ties as is required by Senate rules on the floor. Graham was in a quarter zip and a blazer. He turned his thumb down and receded back into the cloakroom.

Senators probably sleep-wearing neckties. If they don’t wear one to work, it’s because they had a reason not to do so. Thursday morning, Graham also was in attendance at the press conference with the rest of the sourballs. Then he cast his vote against Jackson like a ring-and-run Halloween hoodlum. It takes some doing to look more petulant and low-rent than Ted Cruz, but Graham managed to do it.

washington, dc   april 07 us president joe biden and judge ketanji brown jackson watch together as the us senate votes to confirm her to be the first black woman to be a justice on the supreme court in the roosevelt room at the white house on april 07, 2022 in washington, dc photo by chip somodevillagetty images
Jackson watched the vote alongside President Biden in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

The applause that greeted the final vote came as balm and relief. Jackson will not join the Court until next fall, which is an unusually long interim period for a new justice. The still-new, carefully engineered conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court—you know, the one that daily makes a lie out of everything Mitch McConnell ever said about a “politicized” process—has already heard some major cases, including one with the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade. And this Court has made extensive—and highly ideological—use of the so-called “shadow docket,” most recently in taking a bite out of the Clean Water Act, a finding so egregious that Chief Justice John Roberts joined the dissenters, and Roberts is no friend to environmental regulation.

Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jackson was asked about the use and misuse of the shadow docket Senator Amy Klobuchar. Her answers were…well, judicious. From E&E News:

During a marathon hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) asked the Supreme Court nominee when it is appropriate to use the “shadow docket.” “These decisions have a profound effect on people’s lives,” Klobuchar said. In the past several years, justices have issued such emergency orders in high-profile legal fights, including EPA’s carbon rule for power plants. Jackson, whom President Biden has tapped to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, said there is “a balance that the court has to consider” when it determines if a legal question requires an urgent answer or if it’s best to allow an issue to percolate in the lower courts.
“If I was fortunate enough to be confirmed, I would look at those issues,” Jackson said.

She stops being an event now. She’s an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, and she’s coming aboard in a never-ending squall.

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