As Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson sits before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday to begin her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Democrats and civil rights activists want her to know — and see — that they have her back.
You start by filling the room with a sea of supporters. But they will also send allies to discuss Jackson’s credentials and confront their Republican critics over the airwaves and social media.
“We definitely need to pack the space,” Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said. But she added: “We need to be outside. We need to share information on social media. We must speak out against the lies and misinformation that will come from the right who do not want to see their confirmation.”
Jackson’s hearings begin Monday morning with opening statements from Jackson and members of the Judiciary Committee. On Tuesday and Wednesday, each of the panel’s 22 members — split evenly between Democrats and Republicans — will have up to 50 minutes to question them.
the NAACP and a Coalition of 187 organizations has sent out separate letters in recent days expressing support for Jackson’s confirmation, building on a wide-ranging and bipartisan group of leaders who have backed her.
Black women-led organizations plan to hold a rally Monday morning outside the Supreme Court, located across from the Capitol. The Black Women’s Leadership Collective will stream the hearings on its website to create an online community for Black women to collectively follow the historical process and offer real-time analysis.
“It’s not just about being out there, visibly cheering her on and wishing her well, but also being ready to respond head-on to what we expect to be ‘misogynist and misogynist.’ [and] Comments against blacks,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). “It’s not ‘if.’ It’s ‘when’. And I think you’ll be surprised at how coordinated some of those responses will be.”
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, described his role as “the wind beneath their wings.” The group has set up a war room for confirmation and other matters, but declined to give details of what it is planning.
Senate Republicans have largely stopped talking about race or gender in relation to the nomination since three of them — Ted Cruz of Texas, Roger Wicker of Mississippi and John Kennedy of Louisiana — weeks ago for their rhetoric regarding President Bidens Pledges to nominate a woman of color.
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled a possible alternative GOP attack strategy and questioned the empathy Democrats would bring to the bench because of her past work as a federal public defender.
“Their supporters look at their CVs and conclude that they have a special empathy for criminals. I think that means prosecutors and innocent crime victims start every trial at a disadvantage,” McConnell said in the Senate.
The Democrats vigorously pushed back. Bush said public defenders typically represent people in need — often the most marginalized members of the community.
“Are we saying they’re not people who should have a proxy?” she asked. “I absolutely, absolutely, 100% disagree with him.”
While the Congressional Black Caucus may have the most visible presence in the confirmation process outside of the Senate, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus have also attempted to help.
“We will be promoting her quick endorsement via the press on national news in English and Spanish, radio and social media to continue to draw attention to her impeccable life experience and professional awards which make her overqualified and very suitable to serve our his Supreme Court Justice,” said Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Coachella), chair of the Hispanic Caucus.
Several racial justice and gender rights groups have also signaled plans to mobilize in support of Jackson.
UltraViolet, a women’s rights advocacy group, is relaunching its Women’s Disinformation Defense Project to counter racist and sexist narratives in mainstream and social media. The project began in 2020 as a coalition of progressive groups trying to thwart baseless attacks against Kamala Harris before she was selected as Biden’s running mate.
Back then, they battled narratives that Harris, the first black woman and Asian American to become vice president, didn’t qualify, and were quick to counter attacks that played on racial and sexist stereotypes — including claims by then-President Trump that Harris did. t “competent” and his attempt to reinforce the lie that she was not born a US citizen, similar to the untruths he had spread about Barack Obama before and during the administration of the first black president.
For many black women, Jackson’s nomination is a landmark achievement, correcting 233 years of marginalization, and her upcoming confirmation fight is a powerful reminder of the challenges and stereotypes faced by women of color in public forums.
In interviews, several black women leaders said they hope the process will broaden the public’s perception of black women in positions of power, and they stand ready to work for fair and timely confirmation.
“I promise you when [Jackson] takes that seat October 22, you’re going to see how people feel a certain way,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and executive director of the National Women’s Law Center. “I think people will be thrilled to break that barrier, and I refuse to let those trying to revisit an old playbook interfere with my enjoyment of it.”
Democrats are eyeing an Easter holiday period to confirm Jackson. The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to bring her nomination to the floor, where each senator will vote on whether to nominate her to the Supreme Court.
Democratic leaders and the White House are hoping for a bipartisan vote in the Senate. Jackson was confirmed with Republican support for three previous appointments, including three GOP votes last June, to face the DC Court of Appeals.
But a unified Democratic caucus could confirm them without Republican support by letting Harris cast the deciding vote.
But first, Jackson and her allies must get her through this week’s hearings unscathed.
“We’re ready,” said Omar. “This is an opportunity none of us thought would come.”
Arit John, a Times contributor, contributed to this report.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-03-20/jackson-supporters-gear-up-to-protect-her-historic-supreme-court-bid-from-racist-sexist-attacks Jackson supporters stand ready to protect their Supreme Court bid