by Bob Barr
Much ado last week was made of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s leniency as a federal trial court judge in sentencing defendants convicted of certain crimes, especially those facing prison for child sex offenses. It was, however, the nominee’s staunch unwillingness to answer questions about her knowledge of basic facts that unmasked Judge Jackson as a truly woke individual; a student of the law unwilling to state the obvious for fear of divulging details that might cause the left to doubt her bona fides as one of them.
In reviewing the manner by which the nominee steadfastly refused to acknowledge that there were in fact “differences between men and women that are enduring” — as premised in a series of questions posed by Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn – I was reminded of an article describing what might be considered a “New Legal Order,” published even as the confirmation hearings were being televised.
“The Takeover of America’s Legal System,” authored by Aaron Sibarium in Common Sense, describes the manner by which Millennial (and younger) lawyers are being taught; namely, that objectivity as a foundational underpinning of our legal system, no longer is to be considered a constant. Woke lawyers, law professors and even judges now are openly declaring that certain individuals harboring disfavored social views (e.g., those considered “racist” or misogynistic) no longer are entitled to competent legal counsel because of those views or acts. In this environment, law professors holding traditional, contrary views must “self-censor” their lectures so as not to incur the wrath of “woke” students and law school administrators.
As Sibarium further describes this deeply disturbing trend (especially evident at top-tier law schools, such as my alma mater, Georgetown, and Judge Jackson’s, Harvard), he quotes a number of lawyers and law professors who refused to be identified for fear of retribution, but who no longer are willing to represent “controversial cases” such as those involving religious liberty or 2nd Amendment rights.
One bold law professor who was willing to be identified in Sibarium’s lengthy analysis is well-known constitutional lawyer Nadine Strossen, who for several years headed the American Civil Liberties Union and is a long-serving professor at New York Law School.
Strossen stated that she “massively self-censor[s]” as if operating in a “panopticon” where every word, phrase and “facial gesture” she makes, will be used against her by adherents of the prevailing woke orthodoxy.
Such is the legal environment from which Judge Jackson has emerged, and it should have raised serious red flags during her vetting process and her now-concluded confirmation hearings. Sadly, but predictably, only a handful of Senate Judiciary Committee members dared start down that road, including Blackburn, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham. All were denounced by their Democrat colleagues as partisan and, by some media, as downright “racist” for asking nothing more than to have the nominee acknowledge, for example, that:
- There are differences between men and women
- Punishment deters crime
- Releasing Guantanamo detainees poses a potential danger to our national security
The most Judge Jackson could manage acknowledging, after repeated questions by Sen. Cotton, was to admit that “Congress” appears to have concluded that there may be a deterrent purpose to punishment. To her, deterrence was simply a “theory” too “difficult” for her to answer with any specificity.
Similarly, and even more obviously evasive, were the judge’s repeated responses to Sen. Blackburn’s questions to determine if Jackson agreed with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who stated in a 1996 majority Supreme Court opinion that such differences [between men and women] do indeed exist and are relevant for determining whether actions based on such distinctions violate federal gender discrimination statutes.
These and other examples of Judge Jackson’s recurring refusal to answer questions revealing her – not Congress’ or someone else’s — understanding of basic, even immutable principles, fails to clarify for the American people where the nominee might stand with regard to possible Supreme Court opinions to come in the years, if not decades, ahead during her almost certain tenure as an associate justice.
The disappointing exchanges last week, however, did reveal with great clarity that in her refusal to answer legitimate and relevant inquiries, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a woke child of the “New Legal Order,” in which subjective perception trumps objective reality, and where punishment for criminal acts depends on the subjective correctness of the perpetrator’s ideology.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.