Bob Lonsberry

Bob Lonsberry

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BOB LONSBERRY: I'd Vote to Confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson

 I’d vote to confirm her.

 

               Ketanji Brown Jackson.

 

               If I was a United States senator, I would vote to put her on the Supreme Court.

 

               Not that I agree with her, not that I would have nominated her, not that I believe she won’t be a liberal activist on the court.

 

               But there has been nothing brought forward to disqualify her or to suggest that she is not competent. I recognize that Joe Biden is the president of the United States and has the power to nominate, and that the Senate has the power to exercise its consent or rejection.

 

               And I don’t see a good reason to reject her.

 

               So I would vote to confirm.

 

               And then I would hold my breath. Because no one knows on the day they’re sworn in what an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is going to be like. You’ve got to wait 20 or 30 years to truly know that.

 

               Ultimately, history will judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

 

               Hopefully, history will measure her by what she did, and evaluate and remember her on the basis of her rulings and opinions. Hopefully, history won’t be fixated on her position as a first.

 

               The “first black female” promise of Joe Biden was the worst kind of pandering, the most dispiriting kind of tokenism and the crudest kind of hypocrisy. Joe Biden boasts of putting a black woman on the court today but took extraordinary measures to make sure a black woman wasn’t put on the court 20 years ago. He may take credit for opening the door for a black woman, but he ought rightly to be remembered for slamming the door in the face of another black woman, and for delaying by almost a generation the presence of an African-American female on the court.

 

               Just as he almost a generation ago kept a man of Mexican heritage from being nominated to the court.

 

               Ketanji Brown Jackson has been passionately supported by progressives, who see her as a reliable vote for their political and social agenda. They’re probably right about the way she’ll vote. Just like they’re usually right about the way all the justices of the Supreme Court will vote.

 

               Justice, as practiced in our highest court, has a real tendency to be nothing more than politics. The Republican judges vote Republican and the Democrat judges vote Democratic. That’s too bad. It’s also nothing new. The court has run that way, under varying labels, for most of its history.

 

               And that might be ok.

 

               Because the Supreme Court isn’t just about making decisions, it’s about airing ideas. You don’t just look at the outcome of a Supreme Court case, you read the decisions and the dissents. You see what’s rolling around in the minds of the justices and their clerks. You see what is often the best thinking of our day. That thinking has relevance beyond just the resulting decision.

 

               Ketanji Brown Jackson has the potential to be a voice for liberal thought in her future court writings.

 

               The vote won’t change, it’ll be 5-4 for at least some time into the future, but it’s a bully pulpit she’s going to occupy, and maybe she can leave words for the ages. I may not agree with those words, but they are part of the American conversation and they are in the American voice, and they have place in the arena of American ideas.

 

               Ketanji Brown Jackson is a child of privilege – born into one of the most powerful Miami families and married into one of the most powerful Boston families. She is Harvard times two and she has been groomed since college for a responsibility just like this.

 

               Unfortunately, that makes her like too many of her colleagues. Except for Justices Thomas and Sotomayor – who both have inspiring and very humble childhoods – the justices of the Supreme Court are from the very upper strata of American society. Though, while that may be disappointing to those of us on the other end of the social scale, the elites do seem to do a mostly passable job.

 

               Also, like most of the other court elites, Ketanji Brown Jackson was able to take the silver spoon she was born with and turn it into a pretty powerful tool. She has gotten a lot of privileged jobs, but done them well, and through hard work has made the most of her opportunities.

 

               She is clearly competent.

 

               And I would vote to confirm her.

 

               She might be so hidebound by progressive orthodoxy that she doesn’t know what a woman is, and she may be 30 years of votes for the lunatic left, but disagreement is not grounds for disqualification. She is capable, she is qualified, and she is the choice of a president and Senate operating under our constitutional system.

 

               So I’d vote for her.

 

               And hope that she surprises us all with wisdom and judgment worthy of her high office and our Republic.


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