He got clobbered for this on social media last night by lawyers right and left. Some said that in decades of hiring associates at their firms, they’ve never once asked for an LSAT score. Why would they? The LSAT is the test you take to get into law school, a crude measure of how well you’ll be able to handle legal work intellectually. By the time you’re out of law school and looking for jobs, there are many better indicators — your grades, your work on the law review, your clerkships.
By the time you’re in contention for a Supreme Court seat, you have decades of practice behind you. Even if you’ve never been a judge, which Elena Kagan wasn’t before she was elevated, you’ll have either a body of legal scholarship to your name as an academic or an exalted record of successful appellate appearances. If you are a judge, as Ketanji Brown Jackson has been for nearly 10 years, you’ll have written dozens or hundreds of judicial opinions on which you might be properly assessed.
Asking a Supreme Court nominee for their LSAT scores is a bit like scouting a major league prospect by asking what his batting average was in little league. It’s absurd, which is why no one bothered to ask Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, or Amy Coney Barrett for their scores. Only the black nominee is asked for proof of basic intellectual competence, her Harvard pedigree, Supreme Court clerkship, and years on the bench notwithstanding.
Carlson began his segment last night this way:
“Biden went on to mention someone called Ketanji Brown Jackson,” Carlson said on his show Wednesday night.
“That’s not a name most Americans know because Ketanji Brown Jackson has been an appellate judge for less than a year. But Joe Biden assured us she is, quote, ‘one of our top legal minds.’”
He then played a clip from Biden’s address, where the president noted that nominating someone to the Supreme Court is one of the “most serious” constitutional responsibilities of a president.
“So, is Ketanji Brown Jackson—a name that even Joe Biden has trouble pronouncing—one of the top legal minds in the entire country?” Carlson went on.
The gratuitous dig at her untraditional name was a nice touch for the peanut gallery. The finish:
Tucker: It might be time for Joe Biden to let us know Ketanji Brown Jackson’s LSAT score was. Why wouldn’t he tell us that… pic.twitter.com/boPHU5PnMd
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 3, 2022
I don’t know how to read that except as suggesting that an African-American being a “top legal mind” is so unlikely that hard proof should be offered to support the claim. I assume Carlson would say that Joe Biden, not he, is the one who raised doubts about Jackson’s abilities by insisting on screening candidates for this seat by race and gender. If the president was dead set on picking a black woman to the exclusion of other candidates, isn’t it fair to question whether his candidate is as qualified as those who’ve been excluded?
Well, no. Not unless you assume that there’s no such thing as a well qualified African-American woman candidate, such that Biden might have to reach down to the ranks of mediocrities to find someone worth nominating. To suspect that Jackson is unfit despite her stellar credentials, one has to suspect that every black woman accomplished in law could only have gotten where she is due to affirmative action.
If you don’t believe me that Jackson is qualified, whatever her LSAT scores might have been, will you believe this guy? Michael Luttig is a former federal appellate judge and rock-ribbed conservative, a man who was once a shortlister for a Court vacancy under Republican presidents. He speaks glowingly of Jackson:
Most Republicans will ignore his advice. Jackson may be qualified but she’s also a liberal, one who’s cagily dodged questions about the “living Constitution” in her prior confirmation hearings. The cutthroat atmosphere of Supreme Court nominations over the past 20 years has led senators from both parties to view ideology, not just qualifications, as a litmus test worthy of voting no, which is how we ended up with nominees as stellar as Gorsuch and Barrett barely squeaking through. It would be nice if that trend reversed — Luttig is clearly nudging the GOP to make the first move — but in an age in which most senators have more to fear from primaries than general elections, it’s unlikely. Which Republican incumbent wants the hassle of voting yes and then finding himself the target of a furious Carlson monologue because he never asked to see Jackson’s fifth-grade report card?
Here’s “The View” reacting to last night’s segment … not well.
TUCKER CALLS FOR JUDGE JACKSON’S LSAT SCORES: The Fox News host is getting backlash for requesting Pres. Biden release Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Law School Admission Test score — #TheView panel reacts. https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/go9hSL22mG
— The View (@TheView) March 3, 2022
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