Disbelief as Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson refuses to define the word ‘WOMAN’

OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion

The second day of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing conducted by the US Senate’s Judiciary Committee ended with her refusing to define the word ‘woman.’

A tense exchange on sex and gender issues occurred between Jackson and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) following the upset victory of biological male swimmer Lia Thomas over female competition in the NCAA championships.

Blackburn quoted the late Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, saying: ‘Physical differences between men and women are enduring. The two sexes are not fungible. A community made up exclusively of one sex is different from a community composed of both.’

‘Do you agree with Justice Ginsburg that there are physical differences between men and women that are enduring?’ Blackburn inquired.

Blackburn asked Jackson directly when she replied that she had never heard the quote: ‘Can you define the word ”woman”?’

‘Can I provide a definition?’ Jackson questioned back.

‘No, I can’t,’ she declared, before adding: ‘I’m not a biologist.’

Jackson’s stubborn refusal to define a woman came after questions on race, abortion, and judicial philosophy on the second day of questioning.

The first black woman nominated for the court, Joe Biden’s pick was the subject of a marathon debate.

Among the other developments that occurred during the second day of the fiery Senate hearing were:

In addition to her Harvard education, Jackson has served as a public defender, district judge, and court of appeals judge, and has been unanimously deemed well qualified to serve on the US Supreme Court by the American Bar Association (ABA).

However, the committee has expressed interest in learning about Jackson’s judicial philosophy so as to determine if she is an activist judge who seeks to influence policy through her rulings.

To Jackson’s refusal to define a woman, Blackburn responded: ‘The fact that you can’t give me a straight answer about something as fundamental as what a woman is underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about.

‘Just last week, an entire generation of young girls watched as our taxpayer-funded institutions permitted a biological man to compete [against] and beat a biological woman in the NCAA women’s swimming championships,’ she continued, referencing Lia Thomas.

‘What message do you think this sends to girls?’

Jackson would not share her stance on the matter, saying simply: ‘I’m not sure what message that sends. If you’re asking me about the legal issues related to it, those are topics that are being hotly discussed, as you say, and could come to the Court, so I’m not able to address them.’

Blackburn referred to progressive education in response to an earlier round of questions from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), during which he grilled Jackson on Critical Race Theory.

Cruz, whose year of study at Harvard Law School was a year apart from Jackson’s, diverted from legal arguments to proposals for critical race theory, a theory that argues US laws are designed to create and maintain social, economic, and political disparities between races.

With a stack of books that included titles such as ‘Antiracist Baby’ and ‘The End of Policing’ from Georgetown Day School, a premier private school where Jackson serves on the board, Cruz asked Jackson how she felt about critical race theory.

‘I´ve never studied critical race theory,’ Jackson replied. ‘It doesn’t come up in the work that I do as a judge.’

Cruz then referenced a section of ‘Antiracist Baby’ that reads: ‘Babies are taught to be racist or antiracist, there is no neutrality,’ and another section that recommends children ‘confess when being racist.’

‘Do you agree with this book being taught to kids that babies are racist?’ Cruz enquired.

Taking a moment to think, Jackson replied: ‘I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or though they are not valued or though they are less than, that they are victims, that they are oppressors, I don’t believe in any of that.’

During another important segment of Jackson’s questioning, she was accused of giving lenient sentences to child pornography criminals.

Senator Hawley and Sens. Cruz and Blackburn questioned why Jackson had given criminals ‘substantially lower’ sentences than those sought by prosecutors, pointing out that Jackson’s sentences were, on average, 47.2% lower than those recommended by federal prosecutors.

In such cases, Jackson said Cruz did not consider the recommendations of the probation officer.

‘I take these cases very seriously as a mother. A judge has to review the actual evidence in these cases and based on Congress’ requirement, take into account not only the sentencing guidelines, not only the recommendations of the parties but also things like the stories of the victims.’

Earlier, Jackson had mentioned that sentencing guidelines were outdated, having been composed before the internet age. They did not adequately separate between watching or disseminating child porn and being active in its creation.

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