Three Things: The Well-Qualified K. B. J.

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Confirmation hearings begin today before the Senate Judiciary Committee for Biden’s Supreme Court justice nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

You can follow live feed at:

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing feed

Senate Judiciary Committee feed on YouTube

C-SPAN feed via YouTube

Yahoo News

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am and may have already begun at the time this post is published.

You can catch up during the course of the hearing with these Twitter live threads:

Jennifer Taub

Imani Gandy at Rewire News Group 

Amee Vanderpool

Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter-Poza

~ 3 ~

Reject any claims to the contrary: Ketanji Brown Jackson is the most qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. Period.

Justice Thomas (who was hospitalized over the weekend) and Coney Barrett are grossly underqualified by comparison.

The Washington Post’s article is worth your time. If confirmed, Judge Jackson may be the only justice with public school education, but when 90% of American children attend public schools, it’s incredibly valuable to have someone who understands their experience, their needs, and can represent them at the Supreme Court.

~ 2 ~

Predictably, Sen. Josh Hawley, supporter of GOP insurrection and sedition, has trash talked Judge Brown Jackson’s experience as a public defender — a qualification none of the rest of the current justices share. He’s claimed, “Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker.”

The Washington Post factchecked this and found this claim to merit Three Pinocchios as an outright false claim, finding Hawley took Judge Jackson’s remarks out of context, mischaractered the work of the U.S. Sentencing Commission on which Judge Jackson has served, and twisted Judge Jackson’s record.

The coup de grace should fall to the right-wing National Review Online which has also taken issue with Hawley’s claim.

Surprisingly, the NRO piece is worth a read even if its contributor, Andrew McCarthy, doesn’t support Jackson’s nomination (for what are rather thin and transparently partisan reasons). At least you’ll be prepared for Hawley’s bloviating about child pornography when he starts in on the topic.

Hawley creeps me out in so many ways but his weirdly obsessive attitude about child porn seems like a naked appeal not only to the racists who reject the notion of a Black woman SCOTUS justice but the crackpot Q-crowd.

~ 1 ~

There has been and will be a lot of nonsensical bullshit thrown around about Judge Jackson’s public defender experience.

Except the premise that all accused should have the assistance of counsel for their defense is fundamental to this nation’s democratic foundation, enshrined in the Sixth Amendment.

What does it say about our nation’s belief in this enumerated right when none of the current SCOTUS justices have been public defenders?

We’ve had a number of community members, especially since the January 6, 2020 insurrection, who have struggled with the application of this right. I’d like to suggest a rather basic but effective educational experience — the premium cable series John Adams featuring Paul Giamatti as Adams. It was produced by HBO and isn’t widely available to stream (check JustWatch) but it’s available to purchase if pricey at Amazon Prime and Google Play. If you want to save some cash, buy just the first episode, Part I: Join or Die (1770–1774), in which Adams defends British soldiers. A dramatization, yes, but effective at making points.

~ 0 ~

Apparently there are really four things today, because this one REALLY bugs me. Is Sen. Blackburn really advocating for birth control to be outlawed???

Tennessee, I’m looking hard at you. Why your state re-elected this cretin who believes in Big Government overreach into individuals’ family planning and women’s reproductive health is beyond me.

Reference: Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965)

~ ~ ~

Call your senators and insist they confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use

80 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    Youtube is carrying the PBS and CNN feeds, and as expected the GQP is complaining about their various hot-button BS issues. Of course none of these were remotely important when Barrett was confirmed without any significant history of trial experience prior to being elevated to the Circuit court. Grassley said to duck. He also whined on about the idea of judicial activism where “dark money liberal groups” were interfering and creating interpretations out of thin air like ACB, Gorsuch, Alito, Thomas and Kavanaugh do routinely. Lindsey is going off on how the GQP can’t be racist by name checking all of the POC judges shot down by the Democrats (which IIRC, none of them were qualified) while also telling Judge Jackson she’s in for a rough ride.

    I think Judge Jackson is up to the task, the chattering class was busy opining about how she deflected Cornyn’s race-baiting question that none of the white nominees ever were asked.

  2. DrFunguy says:

    I read an interesting opinion in the Guardian this morning. The thesis is that most Republicans consider the winning of elections by Democrats to be illegitimate, not because of vote fraud, but because they believe a multicultural society fundamentally un-American.
    By that reasoning KBJ, a brilliant face of America’s future is also illegitimate. Cue the so-called liberal media who can be relied upon to amplify whatever poo is flung by the Senator’s and make false equivalence with Kavanaugh.
    I fervently hope for a speedy confirmation but fear it won’t happen.

    • gmoke says:

      “The thesis is that most Republicans consider the winning of elections by Democrats to be illegitimate, not because of vote fraud, but because they believe a multicultural society fundamentally un-American.”

      It would be pretty to think so. My observation since the “Reagan Revolution” is that Republicanists consider the election of Democrats to office as illegitimate because they consider any and all Democrats as illegitimate, not full citizens, not even full human beings, and that only Republicanists should be legally allowed to vote, hold office, or breathe. See the various initatives for restrictive voting laws, gerrymandering, and bollixing the decadal census by Republicanists for the last 40 years (at least) for more.

      • MB says:

        I can’t remember titles right now, but there have been a number of dystopian sci-fi films where the elites live underground and get to breathe purified filtered air and the rabble have to live outside with the toxins.

        Of course, that might describe present-day Beijing or Delhi. As a kid growing up in L.A in the ’60s, we had terrible terrible air quality, such that it would elicit a cough or cause the cancellation of recess and outdoor activities at school. It’s actually better now thanks to environmental regulations put into place in the ’70s.

        • P J Evans says:

          I remember the air in L.A. in the 60s – it was bad! (The last time my eyes burned from smog was the fall of 1980. That was at Cal Poly Pomona, an area that still gets it worse.)

          • MB says:

            The San Gabriel Valley still has the dirtiest air, being the farthest inland from ocean, and hotter weather, usually 10 degrees higher than the rest of L.A. I have a friend who lives in Glendora – and the house a/c system is “critical infrastructure” for folks out that way. When the Santa Anas blow, this area clears out and the smog is blown out and hovers over the ocean…but you know all this, being a native!

            • P J Evans says:

              I live in the Valley now, and the Santa Anas are so common it isn’t even funny. (Every month with an AAARRRGH in its name.) Doesn’t even really count if it isn’t at least 20mph.

          • madwand says:

            Flying in South Jersey at 4000 ft in the early 70s and looking for the New York skyline on a clear day all you could see was a brown smudge. Ten years later from the same vantage point you could see the city clearly. Cleaning up emissions both vehicular and industrial was the main key for this turnaround.

        • gmoke says:

          The future with two societies, one above and one below, goes back at least to HG Wells’ first “science romance,” The Time Machine. There it was the Eloi who lived above and the Morlocks who lived below. The Eloi were fruitarians and indolent, scions of the upper classes, while the Morlocks were cannibalistic and ran the machines, children of the lower classes. The Morlocks both clothed and fed on the Eloi.

        • Ravenclaw says:

          Or the other way around: elites cruising around in a spacious, clean environment while everyone else slaves in underground factories believing there is a terrible war raging overhead. (“The Penultimate Truth” by Philip K. Dick.)

    • Rayne says:

      Somebody needs to hunt down and drag out into the sunlight whatever kompromat is held over Graham’s head, stake it out where it can be examined, discussed, and fried to a crisp so we can move the hell on as a society. Just so tired of being held hostage by his closeted bullshit.

      • Justlp says:

        Yes. I’ve been thinking the same thing for a while. Also read the Guardian opinion piece and thought it worthwhile. It does feel like the Right KNOWS they are now the minority, but believe that only they should be able to vote. The rest of us are invalid voters and thus the draconian changes to the right to vote and the way that votes are counted. It’s depressing.

  3. Al Ostello says:

    Actual court packing GOP Sen. Cornyn does NOT like the idea of any others even suggesting court packing.

  4. Rayne says:

    By the way, those of you calling your senators, remind them KBJ has been confirmation worthy multiple times. This time is no different.

  5. Rugger9 says:

    Cruz is a jackass and every bit as angry as Lindsey. Maybe he’s still angry about getting delayed in Bozeman. What Cruz is neglecting to mention in his Thomas and Barty defense is that both sets of allegations had legs (and we STILL do not know who paid Barty’s debts.).

  6. Rugger9 says:

    Cruz name-checked Soros, after some serious Biden bashing. That will be the drinking word. Two if HRC gets mentioned.

  7. Leu2500 says:

    Yes, Republicans aren’t satisfied with overturning just Roe. Their next targets have always been Griswold (married couples) & Eisenstadt v Baird (unmarried individuals), justified by their belief that birth control = abortion (ie they think a fertilized egg has the right to be implanted.)

    Oh, & any thing else from the New Deal forward, especially if it relies on the Commerce Clause.

  8. civil says:

    I reject the claim that “Reject any claims to the contrary: Ketanji Brown Jackson is the most qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. Period,” as I reject that we can determine who is “the most qualified nominee to the Supreme Court.” I say this as someone who has worked professionally with the mathematization of real world situations. Qualifications are multidimensional. Which factors to include is a matter of opinion, and there might be widespread agreement on some of these but not necessarily on others. Eugene Scott highlighted 7 factors, but my opinion is that those are not the only ones that matter. How to weight the multidimensional factors is also a matter of opinion. I believe that there is no single person who is “the most qualified.” I believe that there are multiple people who are very well-qualified and that KBJ is among them, but I think claims that suggest that there is some factual way to determine a single most-qualified nominee out of all qualified Americans are misleading and therefore counterproductive.

      • Rugger9 says:

        PBS’ talking head (I forget which one) said that Durbin had a list of requirements including someone who was known to the committee, who had trial experience, and had been confirmed in a bipartisan manner (at least that’s what I recall) and only Judge Jackson met all three.

        Cotton just hit the Soros button, drink (if it’s wise).

        • Rayne says:

          Of Biden’s three final round candidates, only two would have met those criteria, and only one has been in front of the committee multiple times.

          Methinks the problem is that Judge Jackson has been on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit with a key ruling going against Trump wrt enforcement of a subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn.

      • jhinx says:

        I may be mistaken, but I thought when you (Rayne) said “most qualified”, I thought you were talking about “most qualified” among the existing justices. In any case, she’s obviously highly qualified.

        • Rayne says:

          She’s most qualified of the likely nominees Biden from which Biden would have chosen, and she’s checked more boxes than any of the existing justices. See it however you wish.

          Really fed up with arguing for women, especially BIPOC women, who are insanely qualified compared to their white counterparts. This is total bullshit, just as it’s total bullshit our entire federal government doesn’t look like the people it serves.

      • civil says:

        Again: who one considers “best qualified” is partly a matter of opinion. It is not a purely factual matter. In order to even try to analyze it, we’d first have to discuss what qualifications to consider. Yes, things like prior judicial experience and prior experience as a defense lawyer and having attended an excellent law school are all reasonable things to include as qualifications, but for me, they’re not the only ones that matter. After posting my comment, I went hunting to see what others have identified as qualifications that they consider important, and I found this comment from Northwestern law prof Steven Lubet: “Supreme Court justice is among the most demanding jobs in U.S. government. It calls for an extraordinary breadth of knowledge, exceptional open-mindedness, deep perception, wide experience, omnivorous curiosity, keen insight, outstanding intelligence, a great work ethic, excellent writing skills, interpersonal savvy and (although some would deny it) profound compassion, along with as much candor, even-handedness and humility as can be achieved in the circumstances. Nearly all lower court judges, and a good many lawyers, have at least a handful of these attributes; far fewer have them all. Even so, it would be impossible to rank the essential qualities of a justice to come up with a metric that places one potential nominee ahead of all others.” I agree with him both that those qualities — very different than the ones Eugene Scott addressed — are also important qualifications and that we can’t come up with a single metric to rank possible nominees.

        I’m not saying that there is someone who is more qualified. I’m saying that it is not possible to mathematize all of the possible qualifications in a factual way to determine who is objectively “most qualified.” Rather, assessing this involves a combination of values and facts. We cannot escape the role that values play in choosing which things are important qualifications or in weighting the various qualifications.

        To be clear: based on what I’ve read, I think Judge Brown Jackson is extremely qualified, and I hope and expect her to be confirmed. I value the addition of a Black woman to the Court. I value the addition of someone with experience as a public defender. I could add other things that I value, but it’s beside the point, which is that I object to the idea that assessing nominees involves identifying some objectively “best” person. There is no objectively “best” person, and I think we’re better served by understanding why that is and the extent to which our reasoning about these kinds of things necessarily involves values along with facts and exists in an N-dimensional space where N is quite large.

        Apologies if my comment is too long.

        • Rayne says:

          And yet with all that deep understanding of what you feel is “best qualified” or “most qualified,” you can’t name a name.

          • civil says:

            It’s not a question that interests me, for the reasons I explained. If I proposed Sherrilyn Ifill, for example, whose qualifications are clearly different than KBJ’s, how would we decide which one is “more qualified”? You could certainly make an argument that KBJ is more qualified than Ifill, but it’s not going to be a purely objective argument. It would depend on what qualifications we value and how we weight them. That’s my point.

            • Rayne says:

              If Ifill was the only female Black candidate I’d give her the benefit of the doubt; she’s been a superb representative for civil rights. But there are other female Black candidates who not only have interned for a judge and represented clients in court as Ifill has but have been a judge in practice. That’s one criteria Ifill can’t meet; she also hasn’t had to go through the nomination and confirmation process for any federal appointment or nomination.

              Ifill is not as qualified as Judge Jackson who not only has been a federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia but a federal circuit judge for the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. If you don’t value experience as a judge for candidacy for a lifetime achievement as a justice and the ability to be confirmed three times on a bipartisan basis? ~smh~

              • civil says:

                Again, my point is that all of these things involve value judgments. I do value KBJ’s extensive experience as a judge. I also value Ifill’s extensive experience as a professor and moving civil rights work forward. On the other hand, I don’t particularly think the fact that KBJ’s been through confirmation hearings before is a qualification for the work of a Justice, though I do think it may be helpful politically in her being confirmed. And although I value KBJ’s work as a judge, I don’t think that experience as a lower court judge is essential for being a good Justice. IANAL, but it seems to me that the work of interpreting existing precedent on cases that are assigned to you (in a lower court) is significantly different than the work of determining which cases to grant cert to and generating new precedent (in the Supreme Court). Maybe that’s ignorant on my part. I hope that you don’t feel like I need to be convinced that KBJ’s a really strong nominee. I already think that. It’s the idea that we can come up with an objective linear ranking of qualification-level that I object to.

                • bmaz says:

                  If you don’t think the lower court experience is invaluable, you probably don’t know enough about anything to be repetitively flogging this.

                  • civil says:

                    I was trying to have a conversation with Rayne about it, which I don’t equate with “flogging.” In general, if someone responds to me, I respond to them.

                    I also don’t equate valuable (which I don’t question) with essential. Do you think Kagan was unqualified because she had no prior experience as a judge?

        • DAT says:

          Your basic point that qualifications have a subjective component is right. likewise, looking for “the” most qualified is a fool’s errand. However, at least in the tweet above, Scott did not call her “TMQ’” he only made a (telling) comparison between her and the current justices on some commonly accepted markers of quality. (While we are reconsidering qualifications lets move “attended Ivy League Law School” over to the demerit side of the ledger.)

        • Nord Dakota says:

          “Best qualified” gave us Clarence Thomas, after all (although even Bush qualified THAT by saying he was the best qualified at that time). Plus, in cases where a candidate has had to withdraw, it implies that any subsequent candidate is by definition a lesser choice.
          I think the mathematical aspect (multivariable, whether the set of candidates can be well-ordered, etc) flies over people’s heads.

          Do you want to join my Church of the Latter Day Pythagoreans? If I could think of a good logo, I’d make a website.

          • civil says:

            I’m probably more of a Fundamentalist (fundamental theorem of calculus) than a Latter Day Pythagorean. As for a logo, maybe a Pythagorean Tree?

            • bmaz says:

              Oh goody. When it comes to judicial policy you cite the Pythagorean theorem? That pretty much explains the incoherence of your run on nonsense about Jackson. I think we have had enough of that.

      • bmaz says:

        Leondra Kruger is absolutely fantastic and, frankly, might would have had a bigger upside long term. But KBJ was the easier to slide through for confirmation. Biden got this right.

        • Rayne says:

          Kruger is quite good and should get a nomination for a federal judgeship next, IMO, get her through a first-time confirmation process.

          I’m on the fence about Jim Clyburn’s (and Graham’s) preferred candidate, Judge J. Michelle Childs, because of her work in private practice which looks very anti-labor. I don’t know why Clyburn burned so much cred on her, must be something related to South Carolina politics.

    • drouse says:

      Period? The choices we have are limited to who is best qualified at this moment in time. Otherwise, you’re just playing Fantasy Judiciary. Join today and get two appellate choices free.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      This has pushed one of my buttons, in that I’m of the very strong opinion that to qualify as a judge at all, one should have at least a couple years experience as both a defense lawyer and a prosecutor. This should be a matter of law. I can’t help but note that Judge Brown Jackson is the only one on Rayne’s chart who shows up as a “public defender” though of course that’s a little different than acting as a defense lawyer.

      • Rayne says:

        SCOTUS justice is the ultimate public defender position. It’s a pity more value isn’t placed on previous experience as a public defender.

        • Nord Dakota says:

          I did like Scalia’s take on drug sniffing dogs on your doorstep.

          Although the justices as a group were kinda clueless as to whether bringing your dog invited to someone’s house is a social convention.

  9. WilliamOckham says:

    For the authoritarian “religious” right, it’s always been about the state enforcing heteronormativity. Griswold was a darkness that cast its penumbral shadow over all facets of American life.

    • Peterr says:

      When you consider that three years earlier, Engel v. Vitale banned mandatory formal school-led prayers in public schools, the authoritarian “religious” right felt that their power in society was slipping away, and they’ve been pushing for six decades to try to reclaim it.

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      Whoa… heteronormativity AND penumbral in one sentence?

      Well damn…

      I just googled ‘penumbral’ and found this:

      Penumbra, in law:

      In United States constitutional law, the penumbra includes a group of rights derived, by implication, from other rights explicitly protected in the Bill of Rights.

      And once again, Empty Wheel has embiggened my vocabulary…

  10. Buleriando says:

    Hawley’s obsessive attitude about child porn: with repugs it’s always about projection. Always. If they accuse someone of something repugnant, they’re doing it themselves.

    Has me wondering about what’s on his computer.

    • Tom Marney says:

      The reason people like Hawley label people as pedophiles is to establish a rationale for slaughtering them. While it’s not impossible that Hawley is projecting, it’s really beside the point.

      • Rayne says:

        If they were slaughtering pedophiles (and hebephiles), we wouldn’t see mournful headlines in Murdochian NYPost about Josh Duggar’s 34th birthday spent in jail. Gaetz wouldn’t be a time suck in the House. Epstein would never have made it to jail to begin with.

        Hawley is engaged in redirection and fundraising.

      • Buleriando says:

        We agree he’s dangerous. But “intent to slaughter liberals” is not actionable. Proof that he’s a pedophile would likely (though these days who knows) neutralize him politically.

  11. Stew says:

    Would be really interested in Bmaz’s take on Bob Garfield’s ‘Bully Pulpit’ podcast
    Marcy’s and Rayne’s too

    Bmaz has expressed some reservations about my friend, Ralph Nader

    • DrFunguy says:

      Nader did some good work in the ’60s.
      His vanity political project was instrumental in electing Bush II.
      As far as I know he continues to promote a false equivalence of the two parties…

  12. Silcominc says:

    Senator Whitehouse was brilliant and I highly recommend watching him as he discusses the right’s obsession with dark money and the courts. For 40 years they have funneled hundreds of millions to control our judiciary. I take some solace in the fact that it is finally getting some attention

  13. harpie says:

    Some things we already know and some things we can learn about PENCE Movements on #J6TL from GRIFFIN trial, with some added context:

    1] 12:36 PM PENCE arrives at the Capitol with his wife and daughter, going to his 2nd floor ceremonial office
    2] PENCE moves to the Senate Chamber
    3] PENCE moves to the House side
    – 12:55pm – First Barricade Breach on Pennsylvania Walkway
    – 12:56pm – Second Barricade Breach [West side]
    – 12:58 PM West Plaza barricade breach

    ZT: USSS officer Hawa said they were getting reports of people breaking through fencing on the west side of the grounds

    4] PENCE moves back to the Senate side, for the certification proceedings, which are to begin at 1:00 PM
    – 1:02 PM PENCE tweets letter to CONGRESS
    – 1:06 PM PENCE gavels in JOINT SESSION
    – 1:48 PM Lower NW Steps breached
    5] 2:13 PM PENCE and family are moved by Secret Service to his ceremonial office near the Senate

    ZT: Pence is moved back to his ceremonial office when there continued to be security breaches, ppl getting through fencing and bikes racks and getting onto inaugural stage

    6] PENCE evacuated to Visitor’s Center “loading dock” area
    – 2:28 PM PENCE reaches secure location at underground loading dock area,

    1] ZT: Hawa says that after Pence left his ceremonial office, they took him underground to a loading dock area, which the AUSA has Hawa confirm is under a plaza on the Senate side, within the restricted area perimeter the govt laid out […] this is the first official confirmation from the Secret Service
    2] JF: […] This, obviously, is also why Couy Griffin’s attorney tried so hard to enter a statement about the visitor’s center (and, thus, its loading dock) not being part of the Capitol.
    3] SM 4:45 PM And she says crowd had grown on east front of Capitol. Secret Service inspector then testifies, “That’s where our motorcade was”

    7] 7:00 PM PENCE returns to Senate chamber

    SM: and had not left the restricted area before returning

    ZT = Zoe TILLMAN
    JF = Jordan FISCHER
    SM = Scott MACFARLAND [next comment]

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