Kentanji Brown Jackson has been abused, but not by her interrogators at the Supreme Court nomination hearings. Their probing questions, however combative, are only to be expected as part of the process. She has been abused, rather, by most everyone else: her president, her party, the media, and even herself.
Her president did her an injustice by broadcasting, long before she was nominated, that the non-negotiable criteria for her appointment as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice was that she be both black and a woman. He did not insist that she be brilliant, that she have one of the best legal minds in the country, that she have an impeccable record of good judgment from the bench, or that she have a long career’s worth of experience and the resultant wisdom.
If Jackson is, in fact, brilliant and a truly legitimate choice for the coveted post, who would know? Merit is, at best, a secondary consideration given that the president of the United States chose to emphasize instead his minimum biological requirements for the job. And if it turns out that she is not brilliant, not a great legal mind, not even an especially good judge, she is robbed by the president’s dictum of the happy ignorance we might have enjoyed in assuming she was nominated for better reasons. Now, no matter what happens, no matter how good or bad of a justice she proves to be, we can never quite forget how she got seated in that lofty chair. Biden has undermined her credibility for life, which is the length of her term.
Although it is safe to say that Jackson’s political philosophy and affiliations lean left, the Democrats have also done her an injustice. By their lockstep partisanship, by their orgasmic exhilaration at “making history” through mandated reverse-racism and reverse-sexism, they have lost sight of a real person, an individual human being, who is, in fact, something distinct from, and—whatever her faults—mysteriously more than, a mere symbol of progressivist accomplishment.
This abstract idealization is even worse among the mainstream corporate media. In addition to their uniform endorsement of the symbol, they must also try to reverse-engineer it into human status by inventing cloying narratives about Jackson’s family. We must be told that the sweetness of her daughter Leila’s smile has gone viral, that her surgeon-husband Patrick had to wipe the tears from his eyes when she referred to him during the hearings, that her model parents gave her an African name, Ketanji Onyika, which means “lovely one.”
Don’t get me wrong. These might be lovely things, but they are misused in this context. This is not a docudrama, and we’re not all sharing a beautiful dream, despite our training through social media in the virtual projection of our private lives.
Jackson will be one of nine Americans (out of 330 million) to decide in the coming years whether medical tyranny will be allowed to continue unabated, whether transhumanism will redefine what it means to be human, whether Roe v. Wade will be overturned, whether big tech can censor free speech, whether the U.S. Constitution is to survive the woke revolution, and so on. That her family can be spun to evoke fuzzy feelings in Americans is very nearly irrelevant to these serious matters, though it is the spell that puts us to sleep with a smile.
And for all of this, Jackson, too, has been unjust to herself. By accepting these terms—the sweeping elimination of almost all her competitors based on their race and/or gender, the subjection of her family to media exploitation, the ramrodding of her party’s agenda down the throat of the American judiciary—she risks both professional and personal self-respect.
During the hearings, we saw already the impossible mind-games she must play, given her alliances. When Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) asked Jackson to define the word “woman,” she refused. “I’m not a biologist,” she said.
Indeed. Would that she were.
Instead, she is a judge, allegedly bright, and clearly articulate. She is also a woman herself, the mother of two girls, and the spouse of her husband, a man. She knows what a woman is and how to describe one in simple terms, but she cannot risk offending the transgender lobby. In other words, she is trapped by the same bullying force that made her a candidate in the first place.
Woe to the rest of us, then, who will be subject to her compromised judgments in the many years to come.
The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons