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SCOTUS Hearings: Black Leaders See Attacks as Disheartening


Friday, March 25, 2022   

Black leaders are speaking out about what they see as racially charged lines of questioning during this week's Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman nominated to become a high-court justice.

Conservative senators have implied Jackson may be "soft on crime," friendly to accused terrorists at Guantánamo, and a proponent of teaching critical race theory to kids.

Desiree Tims, executive director and CEO of Innovation Ohio, said the attacks are disheartening, but will not overshadow Jackson's qualifications and resilience.

"This is a moment in history for many women, women of color and Black women," Tims asserted. "Judge Brown Jackson has sat with such poise and temperament that it's truly admirable in the face of such nasty and disgusting attacks."

Republican senators said their questions were simply meant to clarify Jackson's views and record. Groups representing various communities of color have announced support for President Joe Biden's nominee, including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Voto Latino, the NAACP and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

Despite Jackson's credentials, the Republican National Committee put her face on a social media ad with her initials crossed out and replaced with 'CRT.'

Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, Alabama, president of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, said Black female leaders are accustomed to such treatment.

"It doesn't matter how smart I am, it doesn't matter what I bring to the table," Givan contended. "I'm never going to be considered the smartest one. That's just not the way the world is. The deck is already stacked against me. And then, I'm a dark-skinned woman."

Asked if the antagonism evident in the hearings will discourage young Black women from choosing a life of public service, Givan emphasized she thinks it will only motivate more people to step forward, just as Anita Hill's experience at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings did in the 1990s.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.

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