Judge Jackson’s patriotic rebuke to the left

As confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson enter their third day, coverage has focused more on the questions she has been asked than the answers she has given. Whether it’s Josh Hawley’s scrutiny of Jackson’s sentencing for sex offenders or Ted Cruz quizzing her on Critical Race Theory, the most bad-blooded argument over this week’s Senate drama has concerned the legitimate parameters of these presidential hopefuls’ questioning.

To bypass that mostly unedifying debate, and instead to focus on Jackson’s answers, has been a heartening experience. Ever since she was introduced by Biden at the White House last month, Jackson has seemed a reassuringly earnest, patriotic and accomplished figure. And in her prepared statements, both at the White House and on the Hill, Jackson has painted a picture of America, its legal traditions, and her family story that are noticeably out of step with the contemporary left.

“The United States of America is the greatest beacon of hope and democracy the world has ever known,” said Jackson when she spoke at the White House. It was the start of a quietly subversive trend.

At one point during yesterday’s proceedings, Jackson described America’s criminal justice system as the best in the world. That may be true, but to say so is a risky business in some circles these days. (Imagine, for instance, the backlash if Joe Biden said something along those lines in a Democratic primary debate.)

In a back-and-forth on Critical Race Theory, Jackson said that she “did not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist” or “oppressors.” Those words, uncontroversial to you and me, are the crux of the argument made by the many parents angry at the way race and history is being taught in the classroom in some parts of America. She also spoke glowingly about her uncle in law enforcement and carries the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police: another thing that can be dangerous to do these days.

There was even something for the originalists in Jackson’s answers. “I do not believe that there is such a thing as a living constitution,” she said yesterday.

Judge Jackson’s repudiation of the modern left’s dogma is more than rhetorical: she is a walking rebuttal to the absurd idea popular among progressives that there has been no meaningful racial progress in America. Jackson’s parents grew up in the Jim Crow South. They attended segregated high schools. And now their daughter is all but certain to join the Supreme Court. Jackson called her family’s story “a testament to the hope and the promise of this country, the greatness of America, that in one generation — one generation — we could go from racially segregated schools in Florida, to have me sitting here as the first Floridian ever to be nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Does this mean that Jackson will be some sort of swing voter on the court? No. She will likely line up as a solid member of its liberal block. She will frequently deliver judgments you and I disagree with. But in an era when so many in power are so willing to denigrate their country and its institutions for short-term political gain, her tone is refreshing and reassuring.

The course Jackson has charted since her introduction on the biggest stage in American political life is lost in both the overblown attempts by Republicans to paint Jackson as a CRT-toting radical and the left’s uncritical “yasss-queen” embrace of a new celebrity-public figure. But the contrast between Jackson and the prevailing mood in the party of the president who nominated her matters. Contrast Jackson’s remarks with, for example, Biden’s glib comments about “Jim Crow on steroids.” That tells you all you need to know — about both a cynical president and the woman set to be America’s newest Supreme Court justice.

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Is Team Biden discriminating against the vice president?

Another day, another round of tidbits from New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns’s soon-to-be-released Biden book. The well-sourced duo report that “some of Harris’s advisors believed the president’s almost entirely white inner circle did not show the vice president the respect she deserved.” They disclose that “Harris worried that Biden’s staff looked down on her” and “fixated on real and perceived snubs in ways the West Wing found tedious.” On one occasion, a Harris staffer was sent to tell Team Biden that the vice president took the fact that advisors did not stand when she entered the room, as they did for Biden as a sign of “disrespect.”

You’d be forgiven for growing numb to accusations of racism and complaints about the blind spots of old white men these days. But take a step back. The revelations are quite something: the vice president’s team accusing the most senior staffers in the White House of discriminating against their boss.

No endorsement, Mo problems

Donald Trump has revoked his endorsement of congressman and Alabama Senate candidate Mo Brooks. In a statement released this morning, the former president accuses Brooks of “going woke” for suggesting it might be time to move on from disputing the results of the 2020 election. It’s an odd charge, given Brooks’s slavish loyalty to the Trump line on the last election (and much else). Faltering in the polls, Brooks had been on thin ice with Trump in recent weeks. And his last ditch effort to stay in the former good graces — a promise to “fire Mitch McConnell” that made last week — evidently was not enough.

What you should be reading today

Matt Purple: Old man yells at gas prices
Tony Woodlief: The myth of our coming national divorce
Stephen L. Miller: Twitter suspends the Babylon Bee for telling the truth
Lyman R. Stone, National Review: Hungary’s demographic failure
Jacob Siegel, Tablet: Invasion of the fact-checkers
Henry Olsen, Washington Post: Mitt Romney’s refusal to endorse Mike Lee is a betrayal of his party

Poll watch

President Biden Job Approval
Approve: 41.4 percent
Disapprove: 53.7 percent
Net approval: -12.3 (RCP Average)

Is the country heading in the right direction or not?
Right direction: 28 percent
Wrong direction: 61 percent (Economist/YouGov)

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