Josh Hawley’s Filthy Attack on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Hints at How Low Republicans Can Go in Her Confirmation Hearings

OPINION: Senate Democrats better hit back hard to protect Judge Brown Jackson or face the wrath of black women everywhere.

Editor’s Note: The following article is an op-ed and the views expressed are those of the author. read more opinions on the Grio.

Shame on the Senate Democrats for not hitting back hard on Republican insurgent defense attorney Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. He has gone beyond low (even to him) by trying to defame Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

When Republican SC Senator and then Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham felt Brett Kavanaugh was not being treated fairly in his confirmation trial following allegations of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford, Graham hit back fiercely like an angry cobra. That’s exactly where Senate Democrats better start this week to defend Judge Brown Jackson against the nastiest smears from Senate Republicans: that she treats child predators with ease in her sentencing. It makes me furious to even have to write these words. It is beneath the dignity of the high office she holds and the office to which she has been appointed.

The attack on Judge Brown Jackson came as Hawley tweeted a long thread last week accused her of being lenient in dealing with sex offenders, especially those who hurt children. Other Republicans predictably follow suit. Hawley went on his favorite network, Fox News, on Thursday night and spat more of his venom. “I think we just need to ask a fundamental question,” Hawley said. “Are we going to have a judge here who is going to protect children, or who is going to protect child predators?”

It’s ironic indeed that this kind of dirty character attack comes from the likes of Senator Hawley, who is the poster boy for white male grievances and anger in America. Morality was one of the main supporters and defenders of the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6. He was photographed punching the insurgents on the Capitol grounds that morning. He defended his actions when he later did NOT vote to certify the election of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. That was after the Capitol was forcibly looted and destroyed by the same people Hawley saluted with his fist in solidarity.

I wrote a piece titled, “Republicans’ criticism of Ketanji Brown Jackson is part of why black women like me have left the party” in the Washington Post a few weeks ago, which argued for sensible Republicans like senators. Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins to lead the way for a bipartisan and respectful confirmation from Judge Brown Jackson. My biggest warning to Republicans (of which I was one for 25 years) was summarized as follows:

“But here’s something Republicans need to keep in mind: Every historic Supreme Court nomination has received overwhelming bipartisan support, even when the nominee didn’t share the legal philosophy or the political party of the senators who voted for them. Beginning in 1967 when Thurgood Marshall, who was 69 to 11, was confirmed as the court’s first black co-judge. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed 99 to 0 when she became the first female member of the court in 1981. The Senate confirmed the first Latina, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, in 2009 by a vote of 68 to 31. These cries and rants of “affirmative action” about Jackson’s nomination are just raw meat for an aggrieved white base of Americans who view any racial advancement as a threat to see their own country. Not only are Jackson’s credentials impeccable, they’re in line with most of the other nominees: most are Ivy League-trained, many are former clerks and have federal bench experience; Jackson checks all those boxes. If Senate Republicans try to derail Jackson’s nomination, they risk going down in history as a precedent due to overwhelming support for historic nominees in court. They also raise questions about whether their actions are racially motivated.”

With Senator Hawley’s latest vile defamation against Judge Brown Jackson, I think we should brace ourselves for her confirmation hearings this week. I think Hawley is sending a signal to the base and his fellow senators that they are going to pay a small fee for the way Judge Kavanaugh was treated during his hearings. They will try to smear a historic candidate in court with deeply disturbing – and false – accusations.

Make no mistake. Hawley and the company mean business. They are going to use Judge Brown Jackson as a warning to Democrats that they are ready to go to great lengths to retake power in the interim 2022 period. Most disturbingly, a good woman with an impeccable life and an impeccable reputation is likely to be publicly smeared by the Republican echo chamber. Senate Democrats better hit back hard, or black female voters will never forgive you. And we won’t forget.

Sophia A. Nelson is an editor for theGrio. Nelson is a TV commentator and is the author of ‘The Woman Code: Powerful Keys to Unlock’, ‘Black Women Redefined’.

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