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The Next Supreme Court Justice

Susan Estrich on

The announcements by Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney that they would join fellow Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in supporting Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the Supreme Court gives a small margin of bipartisan support to a highly qualified nominee.

Make no mistake: There is no reason to oppose this woman on the merits. She is highly qualified and well prepared, smart and savvy, a person of enormous dignity and integrity who will bring valuable experience to the Court. And after witnessing her demeanor during the hearings, where she maintained her composure in the midst of ridiculous questioning, she surely has the temperament to serve on the Court.

In announcing her support for the nominee, Murkowski praised the judge's "qualifications, which no one questions; her demonstrated judicial independence; her demeanor and temperament; and the important perspective she would bring to the court." Romney called Judge Jackson "a well-qualified jurist and a person of honor."

So why did every Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee vote against her confirmation?

Why did they put her through bruising hearings, cross-examining her on such irrelevancies as the kindergarten curriculum of the private school whose board she sits on?

Murkowski, in announcing her support, said she was supporting Jackson in part to reject "the corrosive politicization of the review process for Supreme Court nominees, which, on both sides of the aisle, is growing worse and more detached from reality by the year."

 

That's putting it nicely.

It is a national disgrace.

With the war in Ukraine and skyrocketing prices here at home, Americans can be excused if we paid less attention to this confirmation process than we have to some of those that went before, when there were fewer distractions. Just as well. It was terrible to watch. Whatever you thought of some of the prior hearings, this one was worse because it was about absolutely nothing. There were no witnesses questioning the nominee's character or honesty. There was really no basis for opposition on the merits. The woman before the committee was brilliant and well-qualified. But she was also a Democrat, appointed by a president who Republicans are determined to undermine, right or wrong.

What has happened to us? Why can't we unite behind a history-making appointment and show our kids, ourselves and the world that we are capable of moving past our partisan divides, that democracy works, that people who disagree can nonetheless work together for the common good? Isn't that what we are trying to show the world?

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