Leftists have accused Senate Republicans of racism for their grilling of Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, but Sen. Cory A. Booker isn’t willing to go there.
The New Jersey Democrat said Sunday that the GOP’s questions during last week’s confirmation hearings were not motivated by race after being asked by CNN “State of the Union” host Dana Bash whether “there was racism in that room.”
“No, I think this is not about racism,” Mr. Booker said. “It’s about decency. I think that this is not about any kind of partisan effort. There is legitimate questioning that went on by Republicans there. But to me, it’s just about the kind of way we’re going to treat folk.”
He added that it was the “kind of thing that a lot of folks, women of all races, have had to endure often when they get into a room that they’re qualified to be in, but are yet questioned in ways that are disappointing.”
Judge Jackson, who sits on the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was quizzed by Republicans on her judicial philosophy, sentencing record on child-porn offenders, and views on issues such as court-packing, critical-race theory, and sex and gender.
Her confirmation is all but assured given that the Senate’s most conservative Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, announced Friday he will vote in favor of her nomination to the high court.
Mr. Booker said that the nominee was “getting attacks that were roundly criticized, even by people on the right, as being beyond the pale,” adding that the hearings came as a reminder of a “familiar hurt.”
“And I think that, even despite that, she shined in that moment, as well as throughout the hearings,” he said.
Conservatives have argued that Senate Democrats were far uglier toward recent Republican nominees, notably Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, than Republicans were on Judge Jackson.
The Senate Republicans who have disclosed their vote so far have lined up unanimously against Judge Jackson, setting up the possibility of a 50-50 tie that would need to be broken by Vice President Kamala D. Harris.
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“I’m a ‘no’ vote on her,” said Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “Look, Joe Biden had an opportunity to put forth a mainstream nominee. Instead, he once again listened to the voices of the liberal left, as he does with so many of his appointees.”
Judge Jackson was nominated by President Biden to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, part of the court’s liberal wing.