Congratulations, Justice Jackson

I realize that KBJ won’t be sworn in until the end of the term but writing that post title felt good.

History was made yesterday: the first Black woman Vice President, Kamala Harris, presided over the confirmation vote for the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson.

There were no surprises in the vote but I’m glad Senators Collins, Murkowski, and Romney did the right thing and voted for the supremely qualified KBJ. Before the nomination process became so polarized, a nominee with KBJ’s credentials would have sailed through the senate. Don’t buy the GOP line that the rancor started with Bork: the vote on Justice Ginsburg was 96-3. But 53-47 will do. A win is a win.

The process was grueling and seemed endless but only took 41 days from start to finish. Kudos to President Biden for making such a splendid nomination and to his team for flawless execution. Well done, y’all.

The same can’t be said of senate Republicans who attempted to smear soon-to-be Justice Jackson. There’s nothing worse than lawyers dogging other lawyers about their clients. Everyone in our criminal justice system has the right to a vigorous defense. I’ll say the same thing if a certain former president ever finds himself in the dock.

If I had to grade the performance of senate GOPers it would be D for Despicable. They threw wild, unsupported allegations around. They lied about KBJ’s sentencing practices in order to smear her. She defended herself admirably and without rancor. I went from an admirer to an outright KBJ stan by the end of the process.

Republican churlishness peaked yesterday as they left the chamber as Democrats applauded their victory. Senators Graham and Paul made like Siskel and Ebert’s evil twins and made the thumbs down gesture. In return they deserve this:

That’s former Veep Nelson Rockefeller flipping off wingnuts in 1976. Mitt Romney is too polite to do such a thing, but he stood up and cheered the vote. Thanks, Willard. Your father would have been proud of you.

That was not the only example of Republican sore loserdom, but I don’t feel like typing the name of the minority leader. The next time someone says Democrats need to be more like Republicans remember yesterday when they acted like spoiled children denied a treat. Our side might be too polite at times but at least we’re not racist and sexist creeps.

Enough about Republican malakatude.

I’m here to celebrate the ascension of such a qualified woman to the highest court in the land. She will be the 116th Supreme but only the third Black justice and the sixth woman. It’s a step in the right direction or is that left?

KBJ will be the third Justice Jackson. The first one, Howell Edmunds Jackson, was appointed by Benjamin Harrison and died after a mere two years on the court. I don’t have many heroes, but the second Justice Jackson is one of them. Robert Jackson was a pioneer in civil liberties cases first in dissent then in the majority.

KBJ is fated to join the ranks of the great dissenters, but dissents often turn into majority opinions such as the first Justice Harlan’s dissent in Plessy vs. Ferguson. Trivia time: his grandson was appointed to replace Bob Jackson after the latter’s death in 1954. The second Justice Harlan was such a distinguished jurist that he was played by Christopher Plummer in the HBO movie, Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight. Who wouldn’t want to be played by Oscar Peterson’s childhood friend Chris?

Let’s raise a glass and toast soon-to-be Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. I expect great things from her. Anyone who can endure the sneering smears of Hawley, Cruz, Cotton, Graham, and Blackburn can handle serving with Justice Bro and the wingnut majority. Again, I refuse to call them conservatives. Conservatives respect stare decisis. This uncool gang do not.

All the way with KBJ.

I try to avoid obvious endings but sometimes the obvious endings are the best endings. The last word goes to Kool & the Gang: