The day after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) berated Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson over a children’s book with anti-racist themes during her confirmation hearings, that same book became a best-selling title online.
Earlier this week, Cruz questioned Jackson over the curriculum and recommended book titles at Georgetown Day School, a private pre-K-12 school in the Washington, D.C. area that Jackson sits on the board of. Cruz wrongly claimed that the school was “overflowing with critical race theory,” and that one of the books that was being recommended — Antiracist Baby, by Ibram X. Kendi — exemplified that notion.
Jackson responded by saying that the books Cruz cited in his complaints, including that title specifically, “don’t come up in my work as a judge, which I am, respectfully, here to address.”
Cruz continued his line of questioning, asking if Jackson agreed with the book’s central premise that children are taught to be racist — a theory that has actually been confirmed by psychological studies. Jackson responded by saying that she didn’t think “any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or though they are not valued or though they are less-than.” She also pointed out that critical race theory isn’t taught in the school at all — in fact, it’s mostly “taught in law schools,” she said, adding that it “doesn’t come up in my work as a judge.”
The day after that back-and-forth, Antiracist Baby became the number one title on Amazon’s list of best sellers in the category of children’s books that deal with racism and prejudice. Another book that Cruz pilloried during the hearing — The End of Policing, by Alex S. Vitale — became a best seller in Amazon’s government and social policy section.
Before Antiracist Baby was listed in one of Amazon’s best-seller categories, the book’s author tweeted about Cruz’s line of questioning against Jackson.
“You know Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has impeccable credentials — and you know you’re doing the work — when @tedcruz questions her about your books since he can’t touch her record,” Kendi said on Twitter.
Cruz wasn’t the only Republican senator who attempted to discredit or humiliate Jackson during the hearings.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), for example, tried to question Jackson’s views on marriage equality, lamenting that the right of same-sex couples to marry outweighs the preferences of far right Christians, who feel inconvenienced by a government that recognizes and protects such marriages.
“Well, senator, that is the nature of a right,” Jackson responded.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) tried asking questions about Jackson’s defenses of individuals held at the Guantánamo Bay prison, incorrectly claiming that the nominee had referred to former President George W. Bush as a war criminal. When Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called out Graham’s questions for their inaccuracy, Graham stormed out of the hearing.
Later on, in a diatribe against transgender people, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) demanded that Jackson provide a definition for the word “woman.” Jackson responded that she couldn’t answer the question without context.
“I’m not a biologist,” Jackson said.
Blackburn also attacked Jackson for a brief she co-wrote years ago, in which she described anti-abortion protesters that were harassing patients at a clinic as a “hostile, noisy crowd of in-your-face protesters.” Blackburn inappropriately cited those comments to ask if Jackson viewed anti-abortion churchgoers in the same way.
“When you go to church and knowing there are pro-life women there, do you look at them, thinking of them in that way? That they’re noisy, hostile, in your face?” she asked.
Jackson responded by showcasing how Blackburn was taking the words from the legal brief out of context. “Senator, that was a statement in a brief made in argument for my client,” Jackson responded.
In spite of myriad attacks and “gotcha” attempts by Republican senators, legal experts have demonstrated that Biden’s Supreme Court nominee is well-qualified for the role.
During testimony on Thursday, American Bar Association chair Ann Claire Williams described Jackson in glowing terms, citing 250 interviews she had with prominent lawyers and judges about her nomination.
“Outstanding, excellent, superior, superb. Those are the comments from virtually everyone we interviewed,” Williams said.
Republicans brought in a supposed expert, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R), to try to discredit Jackson’s qualifications. But Marshall’s views were likely deemed questionable by most viewers, especially given that he refused to answer a question on whether he believed President Joe Biden was legitimately elected to the White House.
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