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Ketanji Brown Jackson’s SCOTUS Nomination Hearing Is Next Week, so Get Ready for Some Awful Republican Grandstanding

Josh Hawley speaks during a Senate hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the Supreme Court nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson is scheduled to begin next week, which means we can expect Republicans to be gearing up for maximum embarrassing theatrics.

When Joe Biden announced Jackson’s nomination, Republicans and conservative media were quick to try to find points of attack—which turned out to be hard to come by. But next week, Jackson will face questions from the committee panel and we know that those sorts of scenarios don’t necessarily require substance, but can be used by senators as a chance to grandstand. Things are made even worse by the fact that the minority side of the committee has at least three members who have all made it known they have their eyes set on a bid for the White House in 2014.

Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Ted Cruz have all expressed interest in a (or, in Cruz’s case, another) presidential run, and next week, they’re all going to have time to use Jackson’s hearing as a platform for their own showboating.

As Texas Republican and Judiciary committee member John Cornyn put it, it “usually doesn’t bode well” when presidential hopefuls are on the committee. Cornyn is a comparatively reasonable Republican in that, while he opposes rights for transgender people, displays his racist ignorance publicly, and is just generally terrible, he also, you know, acknowledges the fact that Joe Biden is president. By his party’s current standards, that makes him seem downright moderate.

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat who serves as the committee chair, agrees. “I live with that reality every time I convene the Senate Judiciary Committee—the aspirations of my colleagues,” he said, per The Hill.

To be totally fair, this is not just a Republican issue. Democrats do this, too. Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, and Kamala Harris were all on the Judiciary Committee during Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing, and all three, arguably, used the platform to boost their profiles before announcing their presidential runs.

There does seem to be a difference between, say, Amy Klobuchar making headlines for pressing a belligerent Brett Kavanaugh to answer questions about his history of drinking after he used his affection for beer as a defense for accusations of sexual assault and other forms of misconduct made against him, and the nonsense Josh Hawley is expected to spout next week about Jackson’s history as a federal public defender. Hawley and others have tried to paint Jackson as basically being pro-terrorist for having defended detainees at Guantanamo Bay, rather than acknowledging hers as an essential role in the justice system.

I am very excited to learn even more about Jackson next week as she’s able to discuss her background and her general ethos. And I am also already exhausted thinking about listening to Josh Hawley & co. do their performative BS.

(featured image: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.