Nominations for Acting Awards for Senators in the Confirmation Hearings of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson


 

During this awards season, I propose a series of awards not commonly given at the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, or the Tony Awards.

Though not a classically trained though undoubtedly a committed actor who plays one on TV, I nominate for an overacting award Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, from the great state of South Carolina, which he believes has the best and only truly qualified black women candidates for the Supreme Court of the United State of America.

From his generalized comment that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination is “problematic” simply because her selection was supported by “so many of these left-wing radical groups that would destroy the law as we know it,” to his constant barrage against Judge Jackson’s sentencing in cases involving the possession of child pornography, to his criticism of Jackson’s amicus brief that she wrote on behalf of prisoners held without trial at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba, to his ask of Judge Jackson’s faith, Linsey Graham deserves the award for overacting bully at the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

I am perplexed about Graham’s charge of “left-wing radical groups.” Does he mean the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce, the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship, or the National Education Association?

Or is Graham referring to support for Judge Jackson from former George W. Bush-appointed D.C. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith, former George H.W. Bush-appointed Fourth Circuit Judge Michael Luttig, President of the American Law Institute and former U.S. District Court Judge David Lev, 86 bipartisan former state Attorneys General, or almost 60 former Department of Justice Officials?

Graham, on the other hand, had no problem with the nominations of Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett who were all supported by actual far-right wingnut groups such as the Federalist Society, FreedomWorks Foundation, and Judicial Crisis Network.

I am also curious, with all his many reservations and concerns, why he would vote in favor of the candidacy of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for two previous federal judgeships: the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the D.C. Circuit Court. He explained this apparent discrepancy by admitting that he did not attend the other hearings on Judge Jackson.

So, Lindsey, you voted as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee without sufficient information on a candidate for life-time judicial position? Well then, I nominate you also for the award of legislative malpractice.

Also, asking Judge Jackson, a constitutional scholar, “What faith are you, by the way?” clearly demonstrates your own lack of understanding of the Constitution since the very question is unconstitutional. Lindsay, look at Article VI, Clause 3:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

In terms of Judge Jackson’s sentencing history in cases involving the possession of child pornography, she stands well within the range of her peers on the bench. U.S. Sentencing Commission reports indicate that 59% of offenders receive a variance below the guideline range for non-child pornography producing offenders.

And this brings us to our next award nominee. For his work in supporting the violent insurrection on our Capitol, and further attacking Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for being soft on crime in her handling of the crime of possession of child pornography, I nominate for the prestigious award of Pandering to the QAnon far right the not-so esteemed co-conspirator in the demise of U.S. Democracy, Republican Senator Josh Hawley from the less-than-it-once-was great state of Missouri when Claire McCaskill served in the U.S. Senate.

Hawley’s constant barrage and interruptions of made-for-TV diatribes against Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson added more accelerant to the bonfire reignited by Lindsay Graham, which played into the far-right conspiracy theory of some sort of “Democrat” Party network of child sex traffickers. This mass delusion proposed that a secret cabal ran a global child trafficking network supported by Hillary Clinton that Donald Trump was trying to stop.

This delusion, though, inspired what would be referred to as “Pizzagate,” the false claims that the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C. was the alleged center for a human trafficking and child sex ring.

Edgar Maddison Welch, a 28-year-old man from Salisbury, North Carolina, entered Comet Ping Pong on December 4, 2016, and fired three shots from his AR-15 style rifle sticking the restaurant’s walls, deck, and door.

Welch said he came to the pizzeria to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory, and if true, to free the children held there. Police surrounded the building, and he surrendered without further incident. He was sentenced to serve four years in prison.

For his award-nominating performance on the Senate Judicial Committee, we can hope that Hawley will soon himself be testifying in front of another Congressional Committee: The January 6 Committee.

And for his outrageous performance in the role of feigning outrage and his seemingly unending interruptions regarding Judge Jackson’s testimony about her child pornography possessions sentencing, Republican Senator from the greatish state of Texas, Ted “Cancún” Cruz, takes my nomination.

Actually, I would like to propose a new category to the Academy Awards, one which the Screen Actors Guild already includes, that of “Outstanding Performance by a Cast (or Ensemble).”

This new award must be given to Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley, Ted “Cancún” Cruz, and Tom Cotton for their joint bullying and over-the-top theatrics directed again Judge Jackson on her sentencing decisions as a sitting judge, even though as Congressional legislators, they have the power and responsibility to set clear judicial guidelines but have failed to do so to the extent that they expect judges to read conservative legislators’ minds and carry their judgements forward.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton from the less-than-great state of Arkansas since his election gets my nomination for the award of playing the most confused member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in his questioning of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Cotton must have had cotton in both ears and in his mouth since he seemed bent on asking Judge Jackson questions that would have been better suited to ask candidates for the position of attorney general or chief of police.

“Does the United States need more police or fewer police? … Is someone more likely or less likely to commit crime if they’re more certain they’re going to be caught, convicted, and sentenced? … Do you know what percentage of murders are solved in America?”

Answering his own question, he said: “The answer is about half—54% in 2020.”

Continuing his unusual line of questions for a judgeship, “Do you think we should catch and imprison more murderers or fewer murderers? … So is that a yes, we should catch more murderers, specifically the 46% of murderers who get away with it?’

“Let’s turn to assaults,” he said. “Do you know how many assaults were solved in this country in 2020?” with his own answer: “44%. So 56% of all assault victims did not receive justice. … Do you know what percentage of sexual assaults and rapes go unsolved in this country? 77%.”

Good job Tommy. But if you ever watched the TV show, Law and Order, you would know that the executive branch is tasked with catching the accused – the Law segment – and the judiciary is responsible for trials and sentencing – the Order part. But never mind, I now pronounce you chief of police for the state of Arkansas! You are no longer a Senator.

I would like to return to the award nominating process for Ted “Cancún” Cruz. He must also be awarded for his role as purveyor of banning and censoring schoolroom curricular materials. In this regard, I jointly nominate Cruz and his conservative colleague, Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn (who gives me heartburn) from the tarnished state of Tennessee for blaring the loudest racist bullhorns.

Marsha Blackburn continued Cruz’s false flag battle operation against Critical Race Theory and parental rights in determining what students should be taught in schools.

In a totally weird exchange with giant reprints paid with taxpayer funds of pages in Ibram X. Kendi’s children’s book, Antiracist Baby, Cruz asked Judge Jackson “Do you agree with this book that is being taught to kids that babies are racist?”

Cruz singled out this book because it is one taught at the Georgetown Day School, a D.C. prep school where Judge Jackson serves on the Board of Trustees, a role that does not include curricular decisions.

Judge Jackson responded that she does not believe babies are born racist, which is in line with the book’s thesis that racism is not inherent, but, rather, it is taught through our socialization after one is born. Seemingly, Cruz needs to take a course in reading comprehension since he did not understand the book’s meaning.

In addition to the award along with Cruz for blaring the loudest racist bullhorn, Marsha Blackburn deserves the prize for playing the role of Christian Crusader defending the gender binary system by fighting against transgender identities and the freedom of transgender people to define themselves and live their lives without the constraints that others have imposed.

Blackburn sought to trap Judge Jackson into joining her Crusade by asking the peculiar gotcha question: “Can you define the word ‘woman’?

When Judge Jackson responded that she could not especially “Not in this context. I’m not a biologist,” Blackburn raised her Christian patriarchal voice.

“The fact that you can’t give me a straight answer about something as fundamental as what a woman is underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about,” Blackburn said before she then attacked transgender athletes during her allotted time.

Attempting to retrieve the banner of the patriarchal Christian Crusade, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn ran straight in the direction of marriage for same-sex couples, legal since the 2015 Supreme Court Case of Obergefell v. Hodges based on the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

For this, I place Cornyn’s name in nomination for two separate awards, one for playing the role of joining “Church and State” at the crotch by asserting how unfair is the Supreme Court’s Obergefell’s decision on people’s “deeply held religious beliefs” to be able to hold prejudice and to discriminate against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.

The second award Cornyn is due is in playing the fool in his lack of understanding of constitutional law by asking Judge Jackson, where in the Constitution is the right to marriage equality? Cornyn complained that “the Supreme Court articulated a new fundamental right, which is a right to same-sex marriage.”

Well, Mr. Cornyn, where in the Constitution does it state that anyone of any sexual or gender identity has the right to marry? For that matter, where in the Constitution does the U.S. have the right to establish an Air Force or Space Force?

There are many unenumerated rights that have developed in case law throughout the 246 years in this organic process we call the “democratic experiment.” So, Mr. Cornyn, if you were not merely play acting, you might wish to go back to high school and enroll in a civics course.

And in the supporting role of playing a legislator in “Making America Great Again” to those nostalgic days before the legalization of interracial marriage and the right of women to control their own bodies, I nominate Republican Senator from Indiana, Mike Braun.

While not a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned by a reporter in advance of the senate confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Braun said that both interracial marriages determined the Supreme Court decision in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia and abortion determined in Roe v. Wade in 1973 should be left to the states and not mandated on the federal level.

Braun responded: “When it comes to issues, you can’t have it both ways. When you want that diversity to shine within our federal system, there are going to be rules and proceedings, they’re going to be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. It’s the beauty of the system, and that’s where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves.”

Hmmm. This was the identical argument the Confederate states made on the supposed rights of states to make their own laws and rules on the topic of slavery.

Possibly, I personally should be given an award for being confused since I see no “beauty of the system” in which some states grant rights while others deny these same rights.

Throughout the hearings, though, we have seen similar actors in Grade C (conservative) movies many times before.

Their roles simply stand out as trial balloons, or as canaries in the coal mines for the 2022 and 2024 elections to see how far they can go in using their scare tactics on the cultural issues of Critical Race Theory, women’s rights to control their own bodies, transgender rights, marriage equality for same-sex couples, parents’ rights in schooling regarding curriculum and book banning and overall discussion of race, gender, and sexual identity, and issues of the Democrats being “soft on crime.”

With all the venom spewing out of the mouths of some Republican Senators at the hearings, certain overriding truths remain starkly and irrefutably clear.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s authenticity, her brilliance and total command of the facts, her compassion and genuine love for the law, her judicial fairness, her love for country and for her family, her sense of self and of maintaining her integrity, grace, and dignity, and her deep experience for the position of Supreme Court Justice showed through as brightly as the sun overhead on a mid-July afternoon.

In the moving words of Democratic Senator Cory Booker from the great state of New Jersey at the hearings directed toward Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson:

“You faced insults here that were shocking to me,” Booker said. “Nobody’s taking this away from me….Republicans are gonna accuse you of this and that. But don’t worry, my sister. Don’t worry. God has got you. And how do I know that? Because you’re here, and I know what it’s taken for you to sit in that seat….I want to tell you, when I look at you, this is why I get emotional….I’m sorry, you’re a person that is so much more than your race and gender. You’re a Christian. You’re a mom. It’s hard for me not to look at you and not see my mom. I see my ancestors and yours.”

He added: “You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American.”

Yes, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a great American who has fought against incredible odds to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. This is a great honor, which she has earned.

And all of us should be proud and joyful that the day has finally come for another glass ceiling to come crashing down, one that was installed and maintained by an inherent racist and misogynist system.

***


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