- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said at her confirmation hearings Tuesday that more women should be on the federal bench.

But she stumbled when asked for a definition of “woman.”

In an exchange with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Judge Jackson evaded the question when the Tennessee Republican asked her “can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?”



Judge Jackson repeated the question before replying “no, I can’t.”

The senator asked her back, “you can’t?”

“Not in this context,” Judge Jackson replied. “I’m not a biologist.”

A disbelieving Ms. Blackburn then said that “the meaning of the word woman is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?”

In case the implication wasn’t obvious, Ms. Blackburn went on to note Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer on the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s team and formerly the men’s team.

“If you’re asking me about the legal issues related to it — those are topics that are being hotly discussed, as you say, and could come to the court,” Judge Jackson said by way of deflecting the question by saying she couldn’t pre-judge legal issues.

The exchange before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the definition of a woman drew much mockery on social media, with users coming up with other exchanges purportedly parallel to Judge Jackson’s agnosticism.

“‘Can you tell us whether the Earth is flat or an oblate spheroid?’ ‘No, I can’t. I’m not a scientist,’” snarked one Twitter user.

Another added: “‘Do you know what H2O is?’ ‘I’m not a chemist.’”

Judge Jackson had been less unsure about what a woman is earlier in the day, saying it would be “extremely meaningful” for four women to sit on the Supreme Court, as would be the case if she were confirmed as widely expected.

“Since I was nominated to this position, I have received so many notes and letters and photos from little girls around the country who tell me they are so excited for this opportunity and they have thought about the law in new ways because I am a woman because I am a Black woman — all of those things,” she said.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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