The horror in Ukraine offered a change of focus from Washington’s idiocy on what was once normal business. It was gratifying to see almost all of our political sides rallying around Russia’s cruelty in Ukraine and its threat to the West.
However, the cartoon frolicking at a Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearing managed to distract from even that. Americans have been woken up from the heroic struggle in Ukraine and once again confronted with the silly culture war that captures the attention in Washington. This time, Republican senators attacked Ketanji Brown Jackson, inventing positions she never had. They went so far as to link her to a children’s book about race that she has apparently never heard of.
That’s why I wish President Joe Biden hadn’t made a fuss about having to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court. He could have just named Jackson without making it a race-based thing.
The Democrats have been in their own ugly pileups, but in this one the Republicans have hit a new low. Senators are free to oppose a candidate, but should they debase civic culture with their exhibitionist performances?
Senator Lindsey Graham basically yelled at Jackson, interrupting her responses and slamming the table before storming off. I won’t bother here with his histrionic accusations since they were all for show.
Suffice it to say, Jackson was not “soft on child porn offenders,” as Sen. Josh Hawley put it. For the record, Jackson’s conviction on the matter put her in the “mainstream” of federal judges, according to Douglas A. Berman, a professor at Ohio State University and a criminal law expert.
Shortly after came the revelation that Judge Clarence Thomas’ wife actively supported the insurgency seeking to overturn the 2020 election results. Most amazingly, Virginia Thomas actually seemed to believe the election had been stolen from Donald Trump. In a certified mad text to Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, she wrote, “The majority knows that Biden and the left are attempting the biggest heist in our history.”
For the record, once again former United States Attorney General Bill Barr said he told his boss Trump that these allegations of widespread voter fraud were “bull—-.”
Two things to consider here. The first is that the spouse of a Supreme Court justice is allowed to pursue a separate career. On the other hand, Clarence Thomas was the only Supreme Court justice to note his dissent when the court denied Trump’s request to block the National Archives from sending White House documents to the House committee investigating the January 6 rampage at the Capitol. He should have recused himself.
Several conscientious conservatives currently sit on the Supreme Court. They focus on the law as they see it, whether or not it serves the interests of the law. Thomas, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have a principle bone in his body.
The spectacle of partisan creep over Supreme Court nominees goes back a long way, but a fairly recent abyss was dug in 2016, when Barack Obama chose Merrick Garland. Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even refused to grant Garland an audience with the bogus excuse that the winner of an upcoming presidential election should be able to choose. This election was in seven months. Four years later, less than a month before the 2020 election, McConnell scheduled a hearing for Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett. It was confirmed a week before the Americans voted.
It speaks volumes about the superficiality of our national life that the specter of World War III could not keep the clown show of Washington out of sight. Americans were again swept from heroism to histrionics. Will we ever be free from these humiliating split screens?
– Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be contacted at [email protected] To learn more about Froma Harrop and read articles from other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.