On Tuesday, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was questioned for hours by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and she held up well, though Supreme Court confirmation hearings now resemble the Olympics of circumlocution. We would always like to hear her speak candidly about how she thinks judges should interpret the Constitution.
But it was heartening to hear Judge Jackson affirm America’s promise. Too many people on the left seem to think the United States is structurally and hopelessly flawed. President Biden joined this narrative by emphasizing “systemic racism” and “fairness” instead of “equality.” Judge Jackson might or might not agree with the ideal of color blindness, let alone her take on specific controversies like the one involving Harvard’s admissions policies.
Still, she seems to see the best in America. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley questioned Judge Jackson about a speech she gave quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. In response, Judge Jackson said her speech described how “my parents, when grew up in Miami, Florida, attended and had attended racially segregated schools. What she experienced after her birth in 1970 was totally different.
“The fact that we got this far,” she said, “was, to me, a testament to the hope and the promise of this country, of the greatness of America, that in a generation – a generation – we could go from race segregated schools in Florida, to me sitting here as the first Floridian to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
This has been a theme for Judge Jackson in the short time the public has gotten to know her. “Among my many blessings — and in fact, the very first — is the fact that I was born in this great country,” she said last month at the White House when Mr Biden nominated her. “The United States of America is the greatest beacon of hope and democracy the world has ever known.”
We expect to disagree with Judge Jackson if she is upheld at the Supreme Court. But progressives who support her nomination could learn from her about the country that raised her to such judicial heights.
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