After a week of Republicans outright lying to distort the public perception of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record on sex crimes, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham wailed that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s life had been destroyed when he was questioned about credible accusations that he had sexually assaulted women.
“If you compare this to Kavanaugh you missed a lot. I’m never complained about Kavanaugh or anybody else being asked a hard question, I have complained about their lives being destroyed by an effort of Democrats and the mainstream media trying to destroy somebody to keep the seat open. That didn’t happen here. So I found her completely evasive,” Graham said in a misguided and sloppy attempt to explain his inexplicable no vote on Jackson.
Lindsey Graham says Judge Jackson was “evasive,” and then he complains about Brett Kavanaugh having his “life destroyed.” pic.twitter.com/8XFmgoaSG9
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) April 4, 2022
Brett Kavanaugh’s life was clearly not destroyed because he is on the Supreme Court, sitting alongside sexual harasser and defender of the 1/6 terrorist attack on our very country Clarence Thomas. What has become of this Court, one must ask. And indeed, what has become of this Senate.
The South Carolina Republican, who has done a 180 from bestie of Senator John McCain’s to top contender for Best Effort as noisiest Trump troll, is still worked up some four years later about how unfair it was to ask Brett Kavanaugh about credible accusations that he had sexually assaulted women.
Republicans did not handle this confirmation well.
“(N)ot only do Americans support Jackson’s confirmation significantly more than they supported other recent nominees — they also view Republicans’ handling of it about as poorly as they view Democrats’ handling of Kavanaugh, if not worse,” Aaron Blake wrote for Washington Post’s “The Fix”:
Just 27 percent of Americans approve of their (Republicans’) approach, compared to 52 percent who disapprove.
But is the treatment of Jackson and Kavanaugh the same? Is it poor treatment to ask a man about credible accusations of sexual assault before he is confirmed to the Supreme Court? To suggest that it is, infers that violent crimes against women should not matter when it comes to being a Justice on the highest court of the land.
Is it poor treatment to falsely accuse the first Black woman nominee of being “soft on sex crimes”? I suppose this is one reason why Republicans want to outlaw our racial history, because the history of falsely accusing Black people of sexual crimes reveals just how ugly this line of lies really was.
Little has been said to differentiate the racist and sexist treatment Judge Jackson received from the misogynistic elevation of Brett Kavanaugh in spite of 4,500 tips to the FBI about him not being investigated at the behest of the Trump White House.
These are the men deciding how to interpret the law for a country where women are the majority. I posit it matters a lot that they see violence against women as something to be silenced and anyone speaking up about it to be threatened, unless of course it is politically helpful for them to use the woman (Monica).
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s life was actually destroyed. But we don’t hear a word about her from Republicans. She couldn’t go back to work after testifying that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her and wasn’t able to live at home due to the threats. She had to move four times and pay for private security.
Even Senator Joe Manchin, the “Democrat” who refuses to protect voting rights, was disgusted by Republicans’ “disgraceful” treatment of Judge Jackson.
See, this is not about two nominees being mistreated, no matter how much Republicans want to cancel rape victims and portray themselves as the victims of sexual assault victims.
One is a case of the Trump administration directing the FBI to ignore 4,500 tips about Brett Kavanaugh in order to elevate a demonstrably ill-suited temperamentally abuser of alcohol whose “credit-card debts and loan were either paid off or fell below the reporting requirements in 2017” to the Supreme Court.
The other is a case of Republicans mistreating a highly qualified – respected by conservatives and liberals alike – judge based on sexist and racist dishonesty of their own making that sounded like something from a Q-Anon board.
Our culture does not discuss how falsely accusing a black woman judge of being lenient on child predators amounted to a work atmosphere that wouldn’t be tolerated by any decent employer – nor does anyone seem to get that the very aggressive focus on sexual crimes, which had no purpose other than to gin up lies about Judge Jackson’s record, was an act of hostility conveniently playing upon the fact that Black women are at disproportionate risk of sexual violence.
As many as six in 10 black women report being subjected to coercive sexual contact by age 18; and
Black women report experiencing sexual harassment at work at three times the rate of white women
America Witnessed Senate Republicans Sexually Harassing Judge Jackson
What we witnessed during Judge Jackson’s hearing was sexual harassment. The ongoing mention of sexual assault and pornography – when it served no actual purpose as her record was on par with most of her peers – would be less likely to be tolerated in a job interview of a decent place of employment post Me Too, yet it was televised from the U.S. Senate.
And how about Republicans’ false accusations about Critical Race Theory, which is their latest Get Out the Vote effort that ironically is “Cancel Culture” at its worst, as their party seeks to enact legislation around the country to cancel facts and historical context.
Sexual violence against women is something the culture has so normalized that we move past it and hand out lifetime Supreme Court positions to these men while continuing to apologize to them for anyone daring to suggest they shouldn’t treat women like objects put here for their use and abuse. The very act of asking Kavanaugh about these credible accusations is seen as Democrats behaving badly.
Democrats didn’t agree with Gorsuch, but didn’t accuse him of sexual misconduct, because – hello- there were not credible tips warning that he might not be suited to be a judge. Is he a hack? Yes. But he is not a sexual predator.
So we are at this place in our culture where Democrats treating violent crimes against women as something to care about is seen as equal to the completely baseless racist and sexist attacks on Judge Jackson’s stellar career.
Only people who haven’t been on the receiving end of this kind of sexist and racist treatment will tell you it doesn’t matter and should be ignored. This disparity comes from a fundamental assumption about the rights of certain people to get away with crimes and the right to silence with lies women and especially women of color who are advancing in power or holding power accountable.
In 1991, a generation of women watched the horrific treatment by 14 white men, chaired by then-Senator Joe Biden, of Anita Hill as she testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Her testimony was treated as not relevant and that man has been on the court ever since, prompting thinking people to wonder if perhaps being so willing to mistreat women might be a warning sign about a general lack of integrity and decency.
In 2018, a generation of women watched as a serially accused sexual assaulter was elevated to the Supreme Court and his named accuser had her life destroyed. Media scolds wasted energy coming for distraught rape victims who were protesting and now this is apparently seen as Democrats behaving badly to poor Brett Kavanaugh, instead of – gee, maybe – the crime of sexual assault should disqualify a white man from the bench and thus should be investigated honestly and thoroughly.
In 2022, a generation of women watched Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson treated unjustly and inaccurately as if she were soft on sexual crime, by the very men who are still crying about how they feel Brett Kavanaugh was so badly mistreated by being asked about his own alleged sexual misconduct against women.
While in 1991 the mistreatment of women was a bipartisan affair, by 2022 Republicans have become so disingenuous on the matter as to use lies about her record on it as a weapon against a Democratic nominee while bemoaning that a white male Republican nominee was even asked about alleged sexual assault.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is likely to be confirmed as the first Black female Supreme Court justice as soon as this week. But the stain of Senate Republicans’ horrific treatment of Judge Jackson will likely last for decades.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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