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Ketanji Brown Jackson Hearings, Day Two: Time For GOP Senators To REALLY Show Their Asses!
We liveblog so you don't have to. Not that you would liveblog if we weren't.
Good morning! The days of questioning for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson start today, and that means that whatever they previewed yesterday, today is the day where Republican senators really start showing their asses.
The stars of that, of just really taking these proceedings out of the realm of serious people who have serious facts to say, will of course be Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Marsha Blackburn, three of the most vacuous idiots the GOP has ever produced. Even the National Review is saying Hawley is totally full of shit with his bonkers attacks about Jackson being soft on child pornography.
Anyway, let's watch together:
8: 57:Good morning. If today is anything like yesterday, expect GOP senators to spend a lot of time explaining how well they are behaving, unlike Democrats, who were just SO RUDE when Donald Trump nominated a credibly accused sexual predator.
9: 07:And now here we go. Dick Durbin says the second day of hearings is known as the "trial by ordeal," and notes that every committee member has 30 FUCKING MINUTES to talk. You know, in case you thought today might be an efficient affair, timewise. Durbin's already talkin' about the "dinner break."
9: 09:Durbin notes that literally nobody is questioning any of Jackson's credentials, but Republicans seem to have chapped asses over how she said she doesn't have a "judicial philosophy." Instead she just has 573 opinions and her philosophy is in there. It doesn't just fit neatly under some idiot umbrella like "originalism" or "textualism" like a dippy Republican judge.
9: 11:Jackson says she has more of a method than a "philosophy," a way she approaches cases, how she clears her mind of personal views and preconceived notions, in order to fairly take in the information and interpret the facts at hand in context of her limited power as a judge.
9: 15:Now Durbin would like Jackson to talk about how weird it is that GOP senators think Supreme Court nominees can change the number of seats on the Court. Notes that the only senator who's changed that was McConnell when he decided the Court only needed eight justices as long as a Democrat was president.
9: 17:She agrees with what Amy Coney Barrett said about it in her confirmation hearings, which was NO COMMENT.
Durbin is giving Jackson an opportunity to talk about what a know-nothing piece of crap Josh Hawley is with his disingenuous attack on Jackson being soft on child pornographers.
What was going through your mind when Hawley was being human garbage, Durbin asks.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," says Jackson. Says cases of this kind -- specifically we're talking about cases involving "non-production" AKA the people who consume child porn, not produce it -- are extremely difficult. She says she always makes sure in sentencing that the voices of the victims are heard.
This answer from Jackson, we can hardly describe it, but you're going to see clips of it for days. Anybody who thinks she's not on the side of the victims here is as low as Josh Hawley.
9: 24:We feel like people expect SCOTUS nominees to pretend stuff like this doesn't bother them, but it's clear that this pisses the judge off. It should.
9: 27:Haha, MSNBC is including Josh Hawley's rat face on the screen, showing his reaction in real time to Durbin reading all the factcheckers who have found his arguments meritless, offensive and stupid. He's talking about a judge Hawley supported in MIssouri who sentenced very similarly as Jackson has in cases like these, but it didn't seem to bother Hawley then.
Now we're moving on to Jackson's representation of Gitmo detainees, and Durbin quotes Lindsey Graham, who said it doesn't bother him that she repped Gitmo detainees, because everybody deserves a lawyer. It's kind of a thing in America.
9: 32:Nice, she is framing this by talking about how 9/11 was an attack on our values, and lawyers like her were not going to let the terrorists win by letting that attack change our American values that everybody deserves representation. "Federal defenders don't get to pick their clients," she notes, for the benefit of people who might not know what the hell they're talking about.
9: 38:Durbin closes telling the story of how he was part of the original group that imposed those terrible sentencing disparities for crack-cocaine, but then later worked to fix it with Jeff Sessions. At that point Jackson was on the sentencing commission and had to work to find a consensus on how to implement the new guidelines Congress had passed. Anyway, she's talking about that.
And now we have Chuck Grassley, and his wife said she did a very good job in her opening statement and did not even compliment Chuck Grassley's opening statement!
9: 40:GRASSLEY: Do conservative and liberal protesters get the same First Amendment?
GRASSLEY: Is guns awesome?
KBJ: The Court says the Second Amendment is a fundamental right.
GRASSLEY: Here's a weird unanswerable question about how to decide what is a fundamental right.
KBJ: I'm going to answer a question you didn't ask, just to help you out here.
9: 42:GRASSLEY: I want to watch Supreme Court on TV! Can I?
KBJ: I would want to talk to the other justices and figure out what we all think about that together?
9: 44:GRASSLEY: "If you're on the Court and the issue of False Claims comes up, I hope you think of Chuck Grassley!"
MSNBC was just like fuuuuuuuuck this, let's have a Ukraine update. We agree, we're going to have a "going to the kitchen to get some chips and dip" break, BRB.
9: 48:Now MSNBC has Symone Sanders and Dahlia Lithwick, who say KBJ is doing awesome and Dick Durbin really was time well spent. We guess everybody agrees that Chuck Grassley is so boring, and that's why we're not fooling with it.
9: 51:OK MSNBC went back to the hearing. Chuck Grassley is asking what is the price to ride a cow at the Iowa State Fair. Or something equally important.
9: 54:Oh, we are talking about court-packing. You know, because that's a thing all the SCOTUS justices vote on every year. "Should we pack ourselves? Y/N."
9: 56:GRASSLEY: Is the Supreme Court bought by dark money groups?
KBJ: Nice answer about respecting all the justices.
WONKETTE: The Republican partisan hack justices were, obv.
10: 00:More questions about judicial philosophy, even though Grassley acknowledges that she has already answered them.
10: 01:GRASSLEY: On a scale of one to 10, who is your favorite Supreme Court justice of all time?
KBJ: I haven't studied literally every one of them, so let's just say some of them were really swell.
10: 08:Procedural discussion about immigration and Homeland Security happening. It's not that interesting.
Gotta say, if you didn't pay too much attention to politics and just turned this on, it'd be hard to conclude that Republicans just hate this nominee. Obviously this is because Chuck Grassley is very low-energy, but that's where we are.
10: 11:And now we move on to Pat Leahy, who would like to respond to something the "junior senator" from Texas (Ted Cruz) said yesterday when he was whining about how Neil Gorsuch was treated. Gorsuch, of course, was the replacement nominee after McConnell stole that seat from Obama.
10: 16:Leahy gives Jackson an opportunity to talk about how her time as a federal defender and a trial judge has given her unique experience she'll bring to SCOTUS. She's talking about how one of the biggest problems she sees is that often people going through the system don't actually understand the system. She says she figured that out as a criminal defense lawyer, and even brings up the child porn thing on her own, the way she really made sure in those cases that the perps really truly understood what they had done.
So that was a fun way of defanging Josh Hawley even more.
10: 21:LEAHY: What do you say to people who say you're soft on crime?
KBJ: Well, my whole family is cops, so I care a lot about public safety. I care deeply about the Constitution and the "rights that make us free." And as a judge, I care about the rule of law.
What she's saying is that those people are incorrect.
10: 30:Leahy and Jackson engage in a discussion about her time working as a federal public defender with Gitmo detainees, how that came out of two Supreme Court decisions that said A) the executive could detain people and B) those people could challenge their detainment. So it was against that backdrop that these cases started. Our takeaway here is that Jackson is a really brilliant jurist and these confirmation hearings are so much more meaningful when Democratic presidents choose the nominees. When the Federalist Society chooses them it's just like "YEW HATE 'BORTION?" "I cannot answer any questions."
10: 41:OK here we go, Lindsey Graham gonna get this party started and make it stupid.
He starts out by asking KBJ what faith she is. She says protestant. He asks what kind of protestant. She says nondenominational. Can she judge a Catholic? She says yes.
He's doing this because he's mad liberals questioned Amy Coney Barrett's beliefs, because of how she is batshit. He's mad Dianne Feinstein said of ACB that "the dogma lives loudly" in her.
KBJ really isn't in the mood to tell Lindsey Graham how often she goes to church.
Fuck Lindsey Graham.
10: 44:GRAHAM: Just imagine if the late-night TV was sayin' you were an effin' NUT!
No really he said that.
And now he wants to relitigate how upset white conservatives still are that Democrats including Joe Biden filibustered Black conservative Janice Rogers Brown a long time ago. Literally none of this is about Ketanji Brown Jackson.
10: 48:Man, we said Lindsey Graham was gonna make this stupid, but even we didn't know how much.
10: 49:LOL Graham is TIRED OF IT. "We're tired of it!" he says!
He's tired of people treating Black conservatives as an EFFIN' NUT! He's tired of people treating batshit religious conservatives as an EFFIN' NUT!
He's tired of it!
Now Lindsey wants to know if Jackson liked being a Gitmo defender.
10: 51:GRAHAM: Was 9/11 an act of war?
GRAHAM: What's the redicivism rate at Gitmo? Spoiler it's terrible!
GRAHAM: I'm makin' a point! I'm onstage! I'm the star of this 30 minute block of time! I get this look on my face when I think I'm about to gonna say something clever, but I get the look on my face like a whole minute before I say the thing!
KBJ: Do you need me right now? I'm not sure this is remotely about me anymore.
10: 58:Graham really thinks he's got some gotcha here, proving that Jackson somehow wants to release all the enemy combatants. He just looks like an impotent petulant ragey idiot, like always.
11: 01:Jackson is having a hard time explaining that when lawyers file briefs for their clients, they're not making their own arguments , but rather arguing on behalf of their clients. "Lawyers represent clients," she said to Graham, who actually knows this, but is pretending to be full of shit.
11: 03:"If you tried to do this in World War II, they'd run you out of town!" said Lindsey Graham, like that was a normal thing to say.
11: 05:Lindsey Graham shouting in his South Carolina accent talking down to Ketanji Brown Jackson and trying to mansplain to her what lawyers do for a living is not a good look, we are just saying.
11: 07:Now Lindsey Graham wants to know if Jackson has been in contact with any of the so-called dark money groups on the liberal side that he delusionally thinks killed the nomination of Michelle Childs, who was the person Lindsey Graham had demanded Joe Biden nominate. That is a thing Lindsey Graham is going to make this about now.
Once again, this hearing is no longer about Ketanji Brown Jackson.
11: 10:What Lindsey Graham is saying is, um, wait, he lost his place, oh yeah, WHAT IS YORE JUDICIAL PHILOSOPHY?
Oh wait, Jackson already answered that in detail.
OK so he's gonna be mad about court-packing, and he's gonna be mad that KBJ is the choice of people who did war to Michelle Childs and who think the Constitution is TRASH and who think the partisan rightwing hacks on the Supreme Court are NUTS.
And now he's done, and Dick Durbin is factchecking all Lindsey Graham's shit in real time.
11: 13:If you are gonna factcheck Lindsey Graham in real time, he's gonna yell! He hopes everybody in Gitmo DIES! He hopes they DIE! He says he hopes they DIE!
11: 15:The GOP is being productive:
https: //gop.com/rapid-response/important-questions-for-kbj/ …pic.twitter.com/NGa6SgTxdY
— GOP (@GOP) 1647960776
Wait, did we say "productive"? We meant "fucking racist."
And now Dianne Feinstein wants to talk about abortion, just three months before Amy Coney Barrett, whose confirmation hearings Feinstein was so complimentary of, helps gut Roe v. Wade .
Feinstein asks if Jackson agrees with Kavanaugh that Roe is settled law, and if she agrees with Barrett, that stare decisis applies when it comes to abortion. We'd say that's a good gotcha question if Barrett or Kavanaugh had shame or weren't partisan hacks who were going to do whatever they're going to do anyway.
11: 29:Feinstein notes that if confirmed, Jackson will join the court as the fourth woman in a group of nine for the first time in history. Asks Jackson to opine on why that's so important.
11: 32:Break time!
11: 51:And we are back! John Cornyn asks if KBJ will "nerd out" with him, and asks if she'd agree that even acnknowledging stare decisis that it was right to overrule Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson .
This is how they backdoor into overturning Roe so that white Christian men can rule over the bodies of people with uteruses.
Also he'd like to know if KBJ popped champagne when Clarence Thomas got a pube on the Supreme Court, wasn't THAT also historic?
11: 56:Cornyn wants Jackson to be mad with him that Lawrence Tribe wrote an article saying Stephen Breyer was wrong about the Court being apolitical. This is how they backdoor into being mad that everybody calls Trump's SCOTUS nominees partisan hacks because that's what they are.
11: 59:John Cornyn is demanding KBJ agree with him that marriage is not just governmental but also religious. She says marriages are sometimes performed in religious institutions. He wants her to agree that all the religions say marriage isn't for gays. She says she's aware that SOME members of some religions believe those things. He wants her to agree that if SCOTUS rules on marriage, then it's in conflict with religion.
John Cornyn: not just a bigot, a very stupid bigot.
Jackson isn't taking any of the bait, obviously.
12: 03:Haha now he is whining that Alito (a bigot) wrote in Obergefell that people who speak out against marriage equality would be called bigots. He is whining that four whole minutes AFTER we called Cornyn a dumb bigot and also tweeted it.
But really, it's super cute that Cornyn is going after marriage equality. You really have to be a mouthbreather to be against marriage equality at this point.
12: 08:Cornyn is just really mad that judges can protect minority rights when duly elected white guys have already voted and said those minority rights don't exist. This entire line of questioning is a lesson in why the judiciary works this way.
12: 11:CORNYN: Gay marriage is policy-making!
KBJ: It's about due process.
He is very mad the Court "found" this fundamental right to marriage that doesn't include a penis and a vagina and the blessing of a white conservative pastor.
12: 17:Man, John Cornyn must be under the impression that he's really been victimized since marriage equality became the law of the land! He should write down all the ways it's made him sad and put it in an envelope marked "fuck off."
He also seems to be under the impression that if somebody has "sincerely held religious beliefs" they are being discriminated against if people call them bigots. Nope. Just means their religious beliefs are bigoted.
Cornyn now says it "seems out of character" that Jackson called Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush "war criminals" when she was "representing a member of the Taliban." Why'd she do that? It seems so out of character for her!
And now he's done being the biggest idiot we've heard from so far.
Sheldon Whitehouse now!
12: 30:Whitehouse is just reading direct quotes from Republicans and Fox News talkers explaining that the Federalist Society chooses Republican SCOTUS nominees, who are then expected to be partisan hacks once confirmed.
12: 33:He's just giving one of his master classes on how right-wing dark money works. At this point he's focused on the Judicial Crisis Network.
12: 37:Whitehouse says there's a great difference between "rooting for somebody" and the right-wing network of how dark money follows justices from nomination to the rulings they make in service of Republican ideology.
12: 52:Whitehouse and Jackson had an academic discussion about some things, and it was intellectual but not full of shiny quotes for a liveblog. And now it's time for an intellectual shiny lunch!
Only one million hours to go!
1: 41:And we are back! Dick Durbin starts by totally factchecking some yapping horseshit from John Cornyn, who accused Jackson of calling Rumsfeld and Dubya war criminals. Turns out Cornyn got that little bit wrong .
And now it's time for Mike Lee. This might get a little strange.
1: 45:Yr Doktor Zoom is taking over as Mike Lee blathers on about how judges can never ever make policy, because blah blah "federalist" blah blah "textualism" blah blah "waaaaaaah judges making laws that protect people republicans don't like."
Lee Wants Jackson to say whether the law determines the outcome of cases or the outcome of cases determines the law, and she says duh, the law is the law. NEXT.
1: 50:Lee asks about cases in which the Court deals with rights that aren't specifically listed in the Constitution, and notes that in her previous confirmation, she said the Ninth Amendment said enumerating rights doesn't mean other rights aren't also real. But when has the Court ever said a right derived from the 9th? TRICK QUESTION, she points out that the Court hasn't ever cited the Ninth Amendment as the central justification for a right.
1: 56:Lee mentions that Biden said he would look for a nominee who believes that unenumerated rights; Jackson said the topic never came up.
Aha, but what about Biden's pledge to only appoint justices who believe the Fifth Amendment ensures a right to privacy, and therefore protects Roe , huh?
Jackson: We never discussed that either, you wiener.
2: 00:Lee is now very concerned about the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause and affirmative action; Jackson gives him nothing to seize on.
2: 03:Oh, fun! Interstate Commerce Clause stuff! Pardon us while we get a Coke Zero. It is definitely subject to regulation
2: 05:This is how it works: you turn up your nose at a discussion of the Commerce Clause, and Mike Lee comes back with a question about the "Dormant Commerce Clause."
Then he skips to yet another question about child porn, because they are determined to suggest she is lax on it.
2: 10:Jackson patiently explains that the child porn sentencing guidelines are only a single part of the rubric for actually determining the sentence, and notes again that the defendant's behavior and the federal prosecutor's sentence request also factor into it.
And now we're on to Amy Klobuchar, who will likely not make us go Dormant.
2: 17:KLOBUCHAR: Would you be surprised to learn that your sentences in child porn cases have been similar to those imposed by judges who've been appointed and confirmed by Republicans?
JACKSON: I wouldn't, because these crimes are terrible and judges all aim for justice. Also, this seems like a valuable observation:
Watching one Democrat after another frontload a child pornography non-issue, so that the public will remember child pornography in connection with these hearings. It is just so inept.
— Anand Giridharadas @ The.Ink (@Anand Giridharadas @ The.Ink) 1647972926
Watching one Democrat after another frontload a child pornography non-issue, so that the public will remember child pornography in connection with these hearings. It is just so inept.
2: 22:Klobuchar with a question about how a Constitution written in the Olden Tymes can apply meaningfully to today, Jackson acknowledges that the Founders never anticipated searches of cell phones, but the Fourth Amendment ban on "unreasonable searches and seizures" is still relevant.
2: 25:Oh good, a "shadow docket" question, and Jackson says that it's very important, but she's not on the Court so she is not able to comment on how the use of emergency rulings is actually implemented.
2: 28:How about Shelby County and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act? Jackson agrees that voting is a fundamental right, but also doesn't go into detail.
KLOBUCHAR: How about antitrust law? What are the implications for tech monopolies? Do you agree with Justice Breyer that a competitive free market also requires strong antitrust enforcement?
2: 31:JACKSON: Darn right, and I'd make sure that I'd follow the law and protect consumers. MSNBC cuts away for Ukraine stuff and I switch to CNN, so there. Agreement that congressional intent should be a constraint on judicial rulings.
2: 35:Jackson is a fan of freedom of the press, and says Times v. Sullivan is necessary to protect freedom, thank you very much Sarah Palin, you jerkwad.
2: 38:How would Jackson view a case intended to reconsider Sullivan? She would approach it like any case that might challenge a big settled issue, with consideration for those starry deciders.
2: 40:Jackson says, again, that stare descis is fundamental to preserving the rule of law and Americans' trust in the Court. Also, Klobuchar notes ominously that Ted Fucking Cruz is next.
2: 42:Cute contest between Klobuchar and Durbin over whose state gets to claim Harry Blackmun, who spent time in both.
2: 45:Goddamn Ted Cruz rolls out the Only Thing Martin Luther King Ever Said. Sigh.
But he is very unhappy that Jackson said nice things about Nikole Hannah-Jones and the 1619 Project.
2: 50:Cruz seizes on the one thing that's actually been revised in the project, the claim that the colonists declared independence to preserve slavery. That was later changed to "some" colonists called for independence.
Cruz is claiming the entire project has been refuted, which it has not, and now he's setting up some lies about "critical race theory."
Jackson says it's never come up in her work because she is not an academic, thanks.
Cruz mischaracterizes CRT as the belief that all parts of society are a race war, and then asks if Jackson is in favor of race war and whether she's stopped beating her dog.
2: 53:Cruz: Is CRT taught in schools? Is it taught in the school you're on the board of? Are you doing race war? You praised "critical thinking" and "social justice" in the school's curriculum. What did you mean, and aren't you just a communist? (last bit implied).
3: 00:Jackson notes that the Georgetown Day School was founded in reaction to segregation so kids could learn together in freedom.
Cruz accuses the school of teaching evil CRT books and telling babies they are racist, and Jackson rejects the premise that the school is teaching CRT. Quotes selectively from scary books by Ibram X. Kendi so he can scream about it on Fox News tonight. Insists the book is the "exact opposite" of MLK's beliefs, and how can she support this madness?
Jackson: This has nothing to do with my work as a judge.
Cruz: Aha! In your work as a judge, you have been a friend of sex offenders!
Everyone: Fuck you, Ted.
3: 05:Jackson points out that Cruz completely lied about her 1996 writing on registry laws, and Cruz continues to lie about it, insisting that she argued for invalidating sex offender laws although she was not advocating any such thing. So does she still support this thing she never actually argued for?
3: 16:Evan here again! We walked back in the house and saw Ted Cruz doing child porn math and totally copying off Josh Hawley's paper. So that's slimy of him on a number of fronts.
KBJ and everyone else breathes a sigh of relief because now it's Chris Coons's turn and he's not a foul disgusting human being.
3: 18:Coons is explaining very slowly that in all these cases Cruz brought up, downward departures from recommended guidelines are the norm, and giving Jackson a chance to respond to the libel she's receiving from actual human garbage right now.
3: 21:Coons also points out that the uber-conservative National Review has adjudicated the Cruz/Hawley child porn smear as disgusting and false.
3: 32:Coons is just going through all these people who agree Jackson is phenomenal, including conservatives, and citing brilliant cases. It's almost like this "child porn" thing is just the most ridiculous thing conservatives could have come up with, because they got nothin'.
3: 35:So there was a whole thing where KBJ tried to BUILD THE WALL! But for a procedural reason it was the right ruling. Also she ruled AGAINST HILLARY'S EMAILS! Or something involving the RNC making FOIA requests for Hillary emails. And she ruled for the RNC!
3: 48:They are on a break and we are tired of this post so we are moving the liveblog to a new post GO TO THAT POST. And hit the tip jars below if you haven't yet!
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