Is this a take from the Babylon Bee? It should be, or perhaps a hot take from a guest columnist at some fringe media outlet. Instead, this bizarre claim comes from the house voice of the Washington Post, a newspaper which seems to have forgotten that Brett Kavanaugh got accused of running a gang-rape ring and got forced to account for his use of slang and drinking in high school.
But please, tell us more about how asking Ketanji Brown Jackson to define “woman” somehow eclipses Kavanaugh’s experience:
Republicans boast they have not pulled a Kavanaugh. In fact, they’ve treated Ketanji Brown Jackson worse, the Editorial Board writes https://t.co/HS2NOlmeFT
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) March 24, 2022
A woman credibly accused Mr. Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Democrats rightly asked the committee to investigate. After a superficial FBI review, Republicans pressed forward his nomination. In the end, it was Mr. Kavanaugh who behaved intemperately, personally attacking Democratic senators and revealing partisan instincts that raised questions about his commitment to impartiality.
A woman may have accused Kavanaugh of a sexual assault, but not “credibly.” None of the four witnesses that Christine Blasey Ford named to the incident — which she could neither date nor place — backed up her story, and one emphatically disputed it. In desperation, Democrats then helped cook up another discredited smear about Kavanaugh during his time at Yale, for which again there were no credible witnesses. They then grasped at the ridiculous charge from Michael Avenatti that Kavanaugh and his friends actually ran a gang-rape club of sorts, a claim ridiculous enough that CNN started peppering Avenatti with skeptical questions about it a few days later.
In the end, Kavanaugh got hauled into a second hearing while Democrats gave his accuser a platform for her evidence-free claims, extolling her all the while even though her own witnesses didn’t back up her claims, while Kavanaugh had to sit quietly through it. When he reacted angrily in response to the fundamental unfairness of the proceeding, the same Democrats complained that Kavanaugh lacked judicial temperament. Finally, Sheldon Whitehouse cemented his reputation as the Senate’s leading mouthbreathing idiot by forcing Kavanaugh to testify on the meaning of “boof,” flatulence, and other teen slang.
So what was the “worse” treatment Jackson received? Oh, that Republicans asked about her actual record on the bench:
By contrast, Republicans have smeared Judge Jackson based on obvious distortions of her record and the law. Mr. Graham and others painted her as a friend of child pornographers, despite the fact that her sentences in their cases reflect the judicial mainstream. Even conservative outlets had debunked these accusations before the hearings began. The more Judge Jackson argued for rationality in criminal sentencing — or attempted to, as Mr. Graham continually interrupted her — the more Mr. Graham ranted about the evils of child pornography, which Judge Jackson had already condemned repeatedly and her record plainly shows she takes seriously.
Not all of the criticism in the Post’s editorial is unwarranted, even if framed in their ridiculously hyperbolic premise. This, for instance, hits the mark:
Mr. Graham also attacked Judge Jackson for her work defending Guantánamo Bay detainees, acknowledging that no one should judge her for representing unpopular defendants or advocating zealously for her clients — and then proceeding to do just that.
Both parties have adopted this tactic, attempting to torpedo attorneys over their client representation. It’s a bad strategy, one that undermines what should be a core principle that everyone deserves effective legal representation in criminal and civil matters. Congress created the environment in which Jackson defended those Gitmo detainees, in fact — repeatedly boxing out the George W. Bush administration’s attempts to handle those terrorist detainees through normal military tribunals.
This criticism from the WaPo editors is as dishonest as their overall theme, however:
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) used much of her time assailing those concerned about transgender people.
Yeah, that’s not actually what Blackburn did. The editors mischaracterized this in order to avoid recognizing that Jackson fumbled badly when Blackburn asked Jackson to define the word “woman.” Furthermore, this matters when it comes to federal law — in fact it matters greatly, as I wrote this week:
Jackson will be expected to rule on issues related to biological sex, such as Title IX enforcement — a particular issue at the moment that will almost certainly be heading to courtrooms. If the word “woman” and/or “female” have no meaning, then neither does a whole raft of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law. The administration just got done celebrating the Violence Against Women Act renewal, for instance. What does that mean if “woman” does not have a specific definition grounded in law? It’s not called the “Violence Against Persons Who Identify As Anything But Traditionally Male Law,” after all.
Besides, if Jackson insists that this question needs to go to a biologist, then the answer is clear for laypeople, too. It doesn’t take a PhD to figure out biological sex in humans; that’s elementary-school biology, not Biology 640. …
It’s feigned idiocy, and nothing more, in service to feelings over facts. That may be what it takes for a progressive political activist to reach success these days, but it’s not a great look for a aspirational Supreme Court justice.
This entire editorial is intellectually bankrupt. It’s the kind of commentary we’d expect to see on TikTok, not from serious analysts and especially not from news editors that actually covered the Kavanaugh hearings. It should linger in the air like a permanent boof over the offices of the Washington Post and embarrass everyone connected to the newspaper. Its attempted rewriting of history should at least win the editors a Walter Duranty Prize.