KBJ Hearings, Day Four: One More Day For Republicans To Make It Sick And Weird!
The fourth day should be a nice day. The Senate invites people in to talk about the Supreme Court nominee, and usually there's like a college professor or something, and they say really nice things. But unfortunately in today's politics, we still have to give the Republican Party a chance to speak, even though the Republican Party is in no way a valid American political party with anything to add.
So that's why Republicans have invited somebody from rightwing legal chop shop/hate group Alliance Defending Freedom named Eleanor McCullen, who according to ADF spends a significant part of her weeks harassing people at abortion clinics. Also somebody from an "anti-sex-trafficking" organization called Operation Underground Railroad. Can't wait to see what the hitjob is there.
So let's see how weird this gets.
9:04: Dick Durbin says this morning we're going to start with witnesses from the American Bar Association, so today is going to start more normal. It'll get terrible when Republican witnesses get to start.
They're going to talk about their rating of Jackson, which as Durbin says is unanimous that she's well qualified.
9:09: Durbin complimented the behavior of some of the committee, but our browser fucked up right then so we didn't get to hear what names he called Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. When we came back he was saying that a lesser nominee might not have been able to put up with the disgusting lie attacks from Republicans, but KBJ is impressive.
9:12: This is the Honorable Ann Claire Williams from the ABA Standing Committee, explaining why Jackson received its highest rating.
9:17: Another panelist says Jackson is like a master class in judicial opinion writing, and has a special talent for explaining rulings and concepts to lay people, which is something we noticed watching her, as she would patiently explain concepts about child porn sentencing for the 68th time to Republican men who were committed to not understanding.
9:27: Durbin asks this panel from the American Bar Association if any of the 2,800 people they asked about Ketanji Brown Jackson said anything about her being bad at sentencing child porners. Ann Claire Williams clarifies that they actually only talked to 250 people or so, then tosses to her fellow panelist Joseph Drayton to explain how literally no prosecutor or anybody else said she had any weird bias at all, or that she was soft on child porners.
Now, we would note that after this week, the American people may be be curious why several Republican senators have such a prurient interest in child porn cases.
9:34: Chuck Grassley just wants to remind everybody that he doesn't like the American Bar Association because once upon a time he wanted to compete in the Cowgirl Queen contest at the Iowa State Fair, it was what he had always dreamed of, and the ABA rigged it against him and said 88-year-old senators aren't allowed to be the Cowgirl Queen of the Iowa State Fair and then they closed the booth where they had the chicken bacon ranch ball on a stick before Chuck Grassley could get some and the state fair was ruined.
Also he's mad because the ABA didn't fall all over itself to rate Amy Coney Barrett as enthusiastically as they did for KBJ. (Perhaps because Barrett hadn't accomplished much shit in life when she was nominated to the highest court in the land.)
9:43: John Cornyn went to the ABA website and it doesn't even believe in Florida Don't Say Gay bill. Of course, Cornyn used euphemisms expressing concerns about Florida's "parental rights" bill, but that's the Don't Say Gay bill. It bothers Cornyn when people are supportive of LGBTQ people, hurts him deep in his soul.
9:51: You guys, John Cornyn is talking about "pre-sentencing reports," which means he is talking to this esteemed panel about the Child Porn Caucus's obsessions.
9:59: Amy Klobuchar asks the panel whether it's good or totally fuckin' great that KBJ's reversal rating is only three percent. ABA panel says it's even greater than that, because when she was reversed, it was always with novel legal concepts where there aren't clear answers yet. As in, judges are still working out the answers and disagreeing with each other, etc. So basically she is always right.
Dick Blumenthal brings up how literally nobody has anything bad to say about KBJ, and then moves on to asking the ABA if this whole "judicial philosophy" obsession Republicans have is weird or super-weird.
10:06: Lot of Democratic senators going one after the other. It's almost like the Republicans aren't so energetic when they can't scream at the nominee and call her names in person. Maybe they're saving it for when they talk to the fucked up Planned Parenthood abortion clinic harasser lady about how KBJ loves abortion too much.
10:10: Here is the list of witnesses, the esteemed witnesses called by Democrats and the weird people called by Republicans.
On top of the ones we already mentioned as witnesses for the Republican minority, there's Attorney General Steve Marshall from Alabama, some professor, and some other people, we dunno.
10:16: The first panelist to testify is Rep. Joyce Beatty, head of the Congressional Black Caucus, giving testimony about the historic nature of Jackson's nomination and her stellar qualifications for the role. It is all just good and wonderful. You can read her testimony here.
10:18: Here is the country fried attorney general of Alabama, Steve Marshall, to tell us why he is pretty sure Ketanji Brown Jackson loves criminals so much. His written testimony is available for you to read and laugh at here.
Marshall said somebody who wants to "defund the police" was excited about KBJ's nomination. He's just real worried Jackson is in love with the anti-incarceration movement. This is bad because people need to go TO JAIL. Pew pew pew! Pew pew pew!
We are paraphrasing obviously, just trying to capture the spirit of Marshall's testimony.
10:22: Marshall says Judge Jackson wants to reform criminal justice! That's bad! Pew pew pew! OK bye.
Anyway, next panelist, Risa Goluboff from UVA law school, a normal person called by the Democrats. Her written testimony is here.
10:28: And then next wingnut, a professor from the ANTONIN SCALIA law school at George Mason University. The really good and fun and batshit ones should be the next three called by the Republicans. We just read the written testimony of the person who harasses patients in front of abortion clinics and OMG.
10:31: The entire purpose of this wingnut appears to be to say originalism and textualism are the only valid judicial philosophies.
10:38: Yay, abortion patient harasser idiot!
McCullen says she "empowers women as a sidewalk counselor." So those are words. She says it's very important to empower and support women who are pregnant (to make sure they don't have abortions). She says she has the "privilege" of showing women that 'bortion is murder.
McCullen says when she meets an abortion patient and harasses them on the sidewalk she says "HI, I'M ELEANOR!" and tells them she's never leaving.
So that's scary. Abortion patients of Boston, call the cops.
10:43: McCullen sued over abortion buffer zones to keep protesters away. You see, she says those prevented her from being "compassionate" and up-close with people who actually didn't want to be harassed on the sidewalk that day.
And you know who didn't like those buffer zones? Ketanji Brown Jackson, who said very ugly and not-nice things about sidewalk harassers!
McCullen does not want to yell at abortion protesters. She wants to whisper in their ears about how they are murdering their babies. Is that so weird?
10:46: You guys Grandma Sidewalk Harasser has a killer closing statement:
"In conclusion, you might wonder why I am so passionate about supporting mothers and free speech. Well, it’s called love. And love . . . you can’t argue with that."
And now we have another person.
10:50: This guy Richard Rosenthal is just one of KBJ's BFFs, he seems nice.
10:53: The next person, Keisha Russell, works at some wingnut "religious liberty" outfit, and she is a Black woman here to tell us that critical race theory is bad and Ketanji Brown Jackson is bad. Cool story. Here's her written testimony.
What you'll note is that at no point in this testimony does Russell actually argue that Jackson is a critical race theorist, or that she uses it to inform her opinions. She's a right-wing hack, proving her case isn't her purpose here, she's just here to say buzzwords so Fox News has something to talk about.
11:00: This man is Captain Frederick Thomas, the national president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), one of the many cop groups that supports Jackson.
And after that, we'll here from some supposed anti-sex-trafficking renegade, to tell us how unfair it is that KBJ always gives child porners free tickets to Disney World or something. Her written testimony doesn't actually mention Jackson's name, but just the same, we guess this is somebody Josh Hawley found to help along his lie campaign against Jackson.
11:15: HIGHLIGHTS FROM CHUCK GRASSLEY:
Grassley asks the wingnut law school person if every judge has to have a judicial philosophy, and the wingnut law school obviously says you have to have one. As we all know, it should probably be originalism or textualism, because Republicans said so and that's why.
And uh oh, Chuck Grassley is getting in on the Child Porn Caucus action! He wants to talk to the sex-trafficking person about sentencing enhancements for child porners. And he wants to find out why possession of child porn isn't a "victimless crime." Because this is a relevant discussion for the ... confirmation of Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court?
"Can you imagine your most embarrassing moments on the internet forever?" asks the witness, who quickly says this is WORSE than embarrassing moments.
The AG of Alabama is very upset that Jackson doesn't care about the REAL "most vulnerable," which is crime victims, and also he doesn't like people who think our justice system is unjust. What a fucking yokel.
The critical race theory moron said something but we missed it.
Now it is Sheldon Whitehouse's turn.
11:22: Whitehouse is just calling out Republican witnesses' possible connections to the January 6 seditionist insurection and Donald Trump's efforts to attack and overturn the election. The Alabama AG does not like these questions and wants to talk about the other lawlessness, which is viiiiiiiolent criiiiiiiiime.
He is literally telling Whitehouse what is on the agenda today. Whitehouse is reminding the fuckin' hick who is actually in charge here today.
11:24: Whitehouse just curious if the Alabama AG has anything to say to the Capitol Police. AG does not like the question.
Whitehouse asks the Alabama AG if he's willing to say Joe Biden is the duly elected president. He will not answer it with the words "duly elected" or "lawfully serving."
So that was embarrassing for the state of Alabama.
11:28: Here are some links about the Alabama AG's possible connections to Donald Trump's January 6 terrorist attack on America:
Steve Marshall: Dark money group's involvement in pro-Trump rally was unauthorized (he is the head of the dark money organization)
Meanwhile, John Cornyn is whining again about "unenumerated rights" and mispronouncing the Obergefell case and pretending it's some kind of infringement on his rights that people who don't support marriage equality are (rightly) considered bigots by modern society.
11:37: Oh yay, Thom Tillis wants to talk to Grandma Sidewalk Whispers the abortion clinic stalker! He says he wants to get her card before he leaves!
11:39: McCullen ASSURES us that she has never been mean or nasty to anybody in front of an abortion clinic, no never. A sweet old lady like this? Couldn't possibly!
11:41: Note that McCullen refers to abortion patients as "mothers-to-be."
11:43: This wingnut law professor lady is just really upset Judge Jackson uses a more nuanced and brainy approach to judging than just some kind of paint-by-numbers "textualism" or "originalism."
Dick Blumenthal takes over, noting that he is in Dick Durbin's chair, but reassuring us he did not just do a coup to Durbin off camera and steal his chairmanship.
11:51: This is just the Alabama attorney general looking on while the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus talks about why voting rights are so important:
11:53: Ooooooh Marsha Blackburn!
She would like to talk to Grandma Abortion Hater Lady!
11:54: Marsha Blackburn is also just so glad that Grandma No-Bortions also works with women who have had abortions! Because as we all know, EVERYBODY who has an abortion regrets it! Or at least that's the right-wing myth about abortion!
Grandma No-Bortions has a thing on her card that says "everybody is a person, no matter how small." Marsha Blackburn thinks that's so cute!
And now Marsha Blackburn has to tell Grandma to shut up because she only has five minutes here.
11:58: Marsha Blackburn is still just pretty confused that KBJ doesn't have a "judicial philosophy," so that must mean her philosophy is critical race theory.
"Is Critical Race Theory a TYPE of law?"
(It's all about law, dimwit.)
12:00: Blackburn needs an update on whether they're going to get secret pre-sentencing reports about child porn victims to exploit for their lie campaign against KBJ.
Dick Durbin is telling her to fuck off.
12:02: Blackburn says nobody wants to harm children. Durbin says then please join him over here in NOT HARMING CHILDREN.
12:06: Durbin is just not going to be part of Republicans trying to get their noses in pre-sentencing reports related to child porn victims. Not going to do that. Sorry, Republicans.
Chris Coons's turn.
12:09: After going through a discourse over how even "originalists" disagree with each other all the time, Coons randomly asks one of the good witnesses if they have any doubt Joe Biden is the real president. She has no doubts like that.
12:12: Gaaaaaaaah, that Alabama AG dude is so creepy.
12:12: Speaking of creepy, it's Ted Cruz's turn. He would like to address some important Child Porn Caucus business with the sex-trafficking expert from the totally up-and-up organization.
12:16: Ted Cruz says the "Democrat talking point" about the Child Porn Caucus and its prurient obsessions is that it's "cherrypicking."
We guess that's one thing you can say about the Child Porn Caucus.
12:18: Hahahahahaha, the expert they brought in to talk about child porn just admitted she doesn't even know anything about Jackson's child porn sentencing.
12:21: I'm just the attorney general of Alabammy and I gotta sit here and be quiet while Cory Booker and Joyce Beatty talk to each other.
12:26: Oh good, Josh Hawley is in the house. Everybody who correctly guesses what he wants to talk about wins a gold star, spoiler it is child porn.
12:29: By the way, here's a really good Joan Walsh on how this entire campaign against KBJ is a major signal to QAnon with its crusades against imaginary child sex trafficking rings run by Democrats.
Everybody's been ignoring that ignorant Alabama AG, but surprise, Josh Hawley wants to talk to him. Hit those links above for more information about the Alabama AG.
12:33: What's great about today is that when Josh Hawley starts talking, that means in five minutes he'll shut up. Now Mazie Hirono is talking!
12:41: We think this panel is nearing its end, and these Democrats at the end -- Alex Padilla right now -- are really using the time to say how much KBJ exhibited a calm judicial temperament in the face of obscene and absurd attacks from Republicans.
12:48: And that closes four long long long long days of hearings! Back to your regularly scheduled Wonkette!
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