Sunday, March 27, 2022

Let's Hear It for the Supreme Court!

Not much actual information shakin' regarding the nomination of Ketanji Jackson Brown to fill the Supreme Court seat of Stephen Breyer, but lots of opinion. Stacy McCain directs an inquiry, ‘Alexa, What Is an Ideologue?’

This week’s Judiciary Committee hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson were eye-opening in a lot of ways. Sen. Marsha Blackburn — whom I’ve considered a 2024 presidential contender for a long time — managed to embarrass Jackson with a very simple question:
Blackburn: “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?”
Jackson: “Can I provide a definition?”
Blackburn: “Mhmm, yeah.”
Jackson: “No, I can’t.”
Blackburn: “You can’t?”
Jackson: “Not in this context — I’m not a biologist.”
The “not in this context” part has been somewhat overlooked in the general point-and-laugh reaction to her “not a biologist” reply. As someone said, I’m not a veterinarian, but I know what a dog is. Nevertheless, as Byron York notes, the “context” is important because Blackburn prefaced her question by referencing the 1996 Supreme Court case of U.S. vs. Virginia, which declared that the all-male status of Virginia Military Institute was unconstitutional on Fourteenth Amendment grounds. It so happens that I believe that case was wrongly decided — a legal travesty, as the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment obviously had no such intent at the time the amendment was ratified.

In the hands of ideologues, the Fourteenth Amendment becomes an omnivorous predator that swallows whole the rest of the Constitution, like a great white shark gobbling up baby seals in shallow water. If you want to know how we got to the point that Will “Lia” Thomas is NCAA women’s swim champion, you can look back to U.S. v. Virginia as a milestone on the road to this madness of “equality.”

Meanwhile the various opiners at WaPoo are still whining about KJB's treatment at the hands of Republican Senators. Ted Johnson,  The Ketanji Brown Jackson hearings put patriotism on trial. Conor Casey and Adrian Vermeule, If every judge is an originalist, originalism is meaningless,"Ketanji Brown Jackson is the latest liberal to embrace an approach once associated with conservatives"Missy Murry, Republicans won’t be satisfied with overturning Roe, "Ketanji Brown Jackson’s hearing offered a glimpse of upcoming culture war fights at the court." Paul Kane, Graham: Judicial confirmation process could get even more toxic. Borking is the new norm. A Letter, Opinion: Attacks on Judge Jackson’s record were beyond the pale. I'll bet Kavanaugh had a good laugh over that one. Ruth Marcus, Opinion: Forget advise and consent. This is smear and degrade. That one, too. 

The pretense is gone — the pretense that Supreme Court confirmation hearings are about determining nominees’ fitness for office, gleaning a sense of their legal acumen and approach to judging, and gathering the information necessary to exercise a solemn senatorial power.

No longer. Advise and consent has yielded to smear and degrade. The goal is not to illuminate but to tarnish: If a nominee can’t be stopped, at least the other side can inflict some damage on her and the opposition party.

Which is a pretty good jumping off point to the next segment, the recently revived attempt to smear, degrade and defenestrate Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife, Ginni, had the temerity to be involved in the planning of the Trump "Stop the Steal" rally (not the simultaneous riot at the Capitol), and actually encouraged (through leaked text messages) Mark Meadows not to give up the fight! WaPoo whines Ginni Thomas texts reveal fears, motivation to overturn 2020 election  opines Justice Thomas’s wife is a political extremist. This is now a problem for the court and seeks to blame The conservative media stars at the heart of the Ginni Thomas texts. Sauron's Unblinking Eye, Ginni Thomas, Justice Clarence Thomas' wife, exchanged texts with Mark Meadows about efforts to overturn the 2020 election  John Sexton at Haut Hair, Ginni Thomas asked Mark Meadows to 'release the kraken', meaning, of course, Sidney Powell's claimed evidence of massive voter fraud. Matt Lewis at Da Beast, If Ginni Thomas’ Big Lie Texts Don’t Shock You, Nothing Will. KT at Haut Hair, Candy is dandy, but incest is best Ilhan Omar: Impeach Justice Clarence Thomas because his wife texted Mark Meadows. NYT (cited at Haut Hair) is a little less strident; Should Thomas have recused himself from the Court's election cases? AllahPundit at Haut Hair finds odd a Report of a "Rift" within January 6 committee over Ginni Thomas's election texts to Mark Meadows. How dare she! Even Liz Cheney seems to have a better conscience than Allah. NYT, cited at Haut Hair, Ginni Thomas texts expose rift in January 6 committee

So although a debate has broken out inside the committee about summoning Ms. Thomas to testify, the panel at this point has no plans to do so, leaving some Democrats frustrated. That could change, however: On Friday, despite the potential for political backlash, Ms. Cheney indicated she has no objection to the panel asking Ms. Thomas for a voluntary interview.

 At Wa Free Bee, a parody of Democrat attacks, In Fit of Racially Charged Outrage, Democrats Target Supreme Court’s Only Black Justice for Impeachment, "Party's ugly segregationist past resurfaces as prominent interracial couple comes under attack." Jim Treacher, Feminists Demand: Get Your Wife in Line, Clarence Thomas, "A woman's place is in the home, apparently." And Althouse definitively dismisses the controversy with a single video: Here it is, on camera, Ginni Thomas explicitly and emphatically telling Trump not to concede under any circumstance. "Don't give an inch," she says, invidiously. Be "relentless," she advises, shamelessly.

To which is say (wait for it):

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