The US Senate on Thursday confirmed the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court in a near-party line vote. Only three Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting to elevate the federal appeals court judge to the nation’s highest court.
The Democrats and the bulk of the corporate media hailed the confirmation of Judge Jackson as “historic,” entirely on the basis of her skin color and gender. When Jackson joins the court at the beginning of its next term in October, following the retirement of Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, she will become the first black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.
Jackson is a conventional Democratic Party moderate whose addition will not shift the ideological balance on the court, which will remain under the domination of six arch-conservative Republican-appointed justices, including three appointed by Donald Trump. She will replace Breyer, arguably the most right wing of the three Democratic-appointed liberals, for whom she clerked at the Supreme Court in 1999–2000.
Her nomination in February by President Joe Biden was met with a degraded and fascistic campaign of smears and slanders by prominent Republicans, to which the White House and Senate Democrats responded with a combination of cowardly silence and testimonials to Judge Jackson’s patriotism, religious faith and family connections to the police and the military.
On the Republican side, the absurd presentation of Judge Brown as the spearhead of the Democrats’ supposed capture by far-left supporters of violent criminals, terrorists and pedophiles expressed the continuing transformation of the party under Trump into a fascist organization. The Democrats’ feckless response, including their failure to halt witch-hunting attacks on Jackson by Republican senators during four days of confirmation hearings, demonstrated their own continuing lurch to the right. This includes their cover-up of the attempted coup of January 6, 2021, and ongoing conspiracy to impose dictatorial rule.
Senators such as Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, all of whom supported the attempt to overthrow Biden’s election and the US Constitution, grotesquely distorted Jackson’s record as a public defender and then federal judge. They seized on her legal defense of detainees at the Guantanamo torture center and criticism of the denial of habeas corpus rights to brand her an ally of terrorists. They portrayed decisions in which she sentenced men convicted of accessing child pornography to terms less than recommended under draconian federal guidelines—a common practice among judges—as proof of her support for pedophilia. They attacked her as a proponent of critical race theory, which she has never publicly advocated.
The hysterical character of these attacks was aimed at fueling the fascistic delusions of followers of QAnon and similar conspiracy theories, who believe the Democratic Party is a satanic front for pedophiles funded by Jewish billionaires such as George Soros and backed by the Chinese Communist Party.
Given that Jackson is a known quantity to the American ruling class, a reliable defender of the capitalist state who has been through three earlier Senate confirmations, such ravings demonstrate the acute crisis of the US political system and death rattle of bourgeois democracy, or what remains of it.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell aggressively defended the smear campaign against Jackson in his remarks Thursday following the vote to confirm her. He declared: “The fringe activists who demand partisan court-packing, attack the justices, and describe our Constitution as trash made up their minds from the start of this administration. If a Supreme Court vacancy should arise, they wanted one nominee and one nominee only. Judge Jackson. They spent dark money to promote this person specifically.”
He continued: “Now a few of our Democratic colleagues seem to have decided in advance they would claim that Judge Jackson was treated shabbily… Even though it didn’t happen, didn’t happen… My Republican colleagues vigorously inquired, shed important new light on a frequently disturbing judicial record. So I applaud any colleagues for focusing on substance and not following the Democrats’ recent precedent into the gutter.”
Accusing Jackson of being “soft on crime,” including “child exploitation” and “open borders,” he said the Democrats were “stacking the deck with far-left prosecutors, woke warriors at the Department of Justice, and federal judges who believe criminals deserve lighter treatment… and every piece of evidence suggests Democrats view Judge Jackson as their crown jewel.”
McConnell was followed by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, who declared Jackson’s confirmation “one of the great moments of American history” and compared it to the Civil War abolition of slavery and dismantling of Jim Crow segregation under the pressure of mass civil rights protests.
This supposed watershed in American history, according to Schumer, was entirely based on the skin color and gender of Jackson, a product of the black upper middle class who was able to establish herself within the ranks of the American bourgeoisie and its state.
He boasted: “But we’ve been working on this for over a year. Of the 58 Senate-confirmed federal judges since we took the majority, three-quarters have been women, two-thirds have been people of color…”
At one point, the New York politician, known as the “senator from Wall Street,” made a fleeting reference to the mass death and ongoing health and economic devastation facing America’s working people from the pandemic—entirely the preventable result of the “profits before life” policy of both capitalist parties. “It’s been a dark two years, with COVID, people getting sick and dying, many of whom we knew,” he said. “Stores closing, schools shutting their doors, but even in the darkest times there are bright lights.”
He failed to explain precisely how the ascension of a female black judge to the Supreme Court will be a boon to the tens of millions of workers who continue to be brutally exploited and forced to labor in COVID-infected workplaces. Nor did he mention the wealth bonanza that has gone to the country’s billionaires and big investors as a result of the pro-corporate herd immunity policies of both parties.
Instead, he stressed the bipartisan support for Jackson within the ruling elite and the state apparatus: “Police chiefs want to confirm Judge Jackson. Conservative and moderate and liberal judges all want us to confirm Judge Jackson.”
He not only ignored the racist and fascist filth thrown at Jackson by the Republicans, including in the speech just concluded by McConnell, he actually lavished praise on his “Republican colleagues.”
He declared: “I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my Republican colleagues who joined us on this occasion over the year… And I want to thank my colleagues, no matter which side you voted on. The president sent us an impressive nominee. She merited a robust and thoughtful and lively examination. I thank the members who did precisely that.”
Meanwhile, the three Republicans who voted to confirm Jackson—Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah—came under savage attack from the openly fascist wing of the party.
Trump said, “If you’re mad at RINOs like Mitt Romney & Lisa Murkowski for caving in to the left on KJB, don’t just complain, make them pay at the ballot box.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon supporter, posted a tweet Monday calling the Republicans who voted to confirm Jackson “pro-pedophile.”