I don’t have a lot of positive expectations surrounding Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s ongoing confirmation hearing. This is, after all, about putting a Black woman on the Supreme Court. Still, Republicans will somehow find a way to dive under the lowest of expectations. For example: I honestly didn’t call Sen. Lindsey Graham throwing a tantrum and storming out of the hearing entirely.
Graham, the South Carolina Republican, was expected to provide a lot of pushback at Jackson’s hearing. After President Biden’s nomination, Graham claimed the “radical left” had influenced Biden’s decision. He said, “I expect a respectful but interesting hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Interesting is an understatement.
To start off his line of questioning, Graham tried grilling Jackson about her religion, asking, “What faith are you, by the way?” Jackson responded by saying she was a non-denominational Protestant. Graham then went on to press Jackson about how important her faith is to her.
At first, Jackson tried to respectfully side-step Graham’s questioning, stating, “Personally, my faith is very important but, as you know, there’s no religious test in the Constitution under Article 6.” But when he asked again “on a scale of one to 10,” Jackson put her foot down.
“I am reluctant to talk about my faith in this way just because I want to be mindful of the need for the public to have confidence in my ability to separate out my personal views,” she said.
Graham said he was trying to make a point about questions now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett received about her religious views during her confirmation hearings, when Democrats were trying to suss out how she might eventually rule on abortion.
Still. That entire interaction was bad enough. But then Graham went on to melt down over Guantanamo Bay. It’s no surprise that Graham wants Guantanamo Bay to remain open forever. Per The Daily Beast, he honed in on Jackson’s previous work representing detainees as a public defender, and then brought up a legal deposition Jackson filed on behalf of detainees, saying she’d accused the government of “acting as war criminals.”
To be clear: Guantanamo should be abolished. Frankly, it never should have existed. It is a site of torture and, for most detainees, indefinite containment. Guantanamo’s horrors also precede the War on Terror with its treatment of Haitian refugees in the 1990s, as Isra Rahman wrote for my newsletter NAZAR.
Graham’s bizarre line of questioning went on for a bit. Then, Graham finished it all off by ranting that progressive groups who “believe this court is a bunch of right-wing nuts who are going to destroy America, that consider the Constitution trash, all wanted you picked.”
“All I can say is the fact that so many of these left-wing radical groups that would destroy the law as we know it ... supported you is problematic for me,” he finished before storming off.
All of this is made funnier, of course, by remembering that Graham voted to confirm Jackson to the D.C. Circuit last year.