Senator Marsha Blackburn

By Rosetta Miller Perry

It didn’t take long for the Republican Party to once again show itself an enemy of Black progress and opportunity. Although President Biden announced while he was running for President that if elected he would do so once an opening emerged, as soon as he announced plans to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson to the court right-wing reactionaries, among them Tennessee’s Senator Marsha Blackburn, began raising their voices in opposition.

According to Senator Blackburn the timing is wrong due to the Russian invasion of Urkaine. In Blackburn’s words, “Once again, Biden is putting the demands of the radical progressive left ahead of what is best for our nation.” The “radical progressive left” chant has become code words for opposing anything the Democratic Party champions, especially anything that might aid the Black community.

The notion Biden should wait to announce his nominee because of what Russia’s doing makes no sense. According to Blackburn it was done “to  hide that for over three months Biden refused to levy sanctions against Russia.” How this nomination does that she did not explain, nor did she or Lindsey Graham, another right-winger talking about a “radical progressive left agenda,” specify either how Jackson qualifies by that definition, or cite what about her decisions or background they oppose.

Here’s the truth about 51-year-old Ketanji Brown Jackson. She grew up in Florida, the daughter of parents who attended segregated schools, yet became public school teachers and administrators in the Miami area. She’s a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard and a Cum Laude graduate of Harvard Law school. She’s been a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer, served as an assistant special counsel and later vice chair for the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and been an assistant federal public defender, as well as a member of multiple elite law firms.

She has nine years experience on the federal bench, eight as a judge on the federal district court in the District of Columbia. She was selected last year by President Biden to replace Attorney General Merrick Garland on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, the nation’s second most powerful court. Three current Supreme Court justices previously served on that court. Perhaps they also were “part of the radical progressive agenda?”

The real reason Blackburn, Graham and other right-wingers oppose Jackson, in addition to their basic opposition to social justice and equal opportunity for Black and poor Americans, is Jackson was selected to the Federal court by President Barack Obama in 2012, and ruled in the 2019 dispute between the House Judiciary Committee and former White House counsel  Don McGahn that McGahn had to comply with the subpoena for testimony.

“Presidents are not kings.”  “This means that they do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control,” she wrote. “Rather, in this land of liberty, it is indisputable that employees of the White House work for the people of the United States, and that they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Jackson was also on the three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit that rejected former President Donald Trump’s attempt to keep the National Archives and Records Administration from turning over his White House records to the House select committee investigating the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. 

Jackson joined the opinion written by Judge Patricia Millett that found Trump “provided no basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the Political Branches over these documents.” The Supreme Court ultimately gave the green-light for the National Archives to give the records to the January 6 committee, declining a request from Mr. Trump to block their release.

So what Blackburn and other GOP Trump flunkies are really trying to do is punish Jackson for ruling against their cult leader Donald Trump. It’s part of a consistent track record of opposing Black progress by Blackburn, who also opposed voting rights and police reform measures.. Of course, she will claim there’s no racial animus in her opposition to Jackson, and at least has publicly said she’s willing to meet with her.

But the bottom line is Ketanji Brown Jackson is far more qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice than Donald Trump was to be President. Her judicial credentials are impeccable, and the only reason Blackburn and others want to proclaim her a “radical” is because she was initially appointed by President Obama, and to them anyone with connections to the Obama administration is somehow a radical.

Interestingly, anytime anyone points out that Republicans in general, and Senator Blackburn in particular, have opposed every measure aimed at addressing issues of discrimination and inequality, and certainly all measures designed to help Blacks and nonwhites, they scream and holler it’s unfair to portray their opposition as racist.

Well, the Tennessee Tribune doesn’t know any other way to describe it. Actions always speak louder than words, and their actions and rhetoric definitely strike us as racist, both in tone and scope.