Ted Cruz Nails Ketanji Jackson on Critical Race Theory

One of the most memorable aspects of the Amy Coney Barrett hearings was how at ease Barrett seemed despite the constant grilling from Democrats. Without notes or any prepared materials, she easily countered attacks and was able to cite precedents and facts without breaking a sweat. As a result, she proved herself to be worthy of sitting on the Supreme Court.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, even with her Ron Klain-approved public high school education and Ivy League law school degree, didn’t have Barrett’s calm, relaxed demeanor or confidence. Jackson probably knew she wasn’t having a great day, particularly while being questioned by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). With surgical precision, Cruz exposed several contradictions in her statements.

For example, when Jackson declared, “I’ve never studied Critical Race Theory, and I’ve never used it, it doesn’t come up in the work that I do as a judge,” Senator Cruz immediately called her out, noting that in 2015, she gave a speech in which she cited CRT as a factor in sentencing, like other areas of law.

“I also try to convince my students that sentencing is just plain interesting on an intellectual level, in part because it melds together myriad types of law—criminal law, of course, but also administrative law, constitutional law, critical race theory, negotiations, and to some extent, even contracts,” Jackson said in her 2015.

Jackson did her best to wiggle out of the corner Cruz put her in and failed miserably. She claimed she was talking about “policy,” but that it “didn’t relate” to her work as a judge. You don’t need a degree from an Ivy League school to know she was full of it.

One of the most telling moments, in my opinion, came during the exchange when Cruz questioned Jackson about Georgetown Day School, a private school where she sits on the board. Cruz noted that the school was “filled and overflowing” with Critical Race Theory and mentioned one book in particular called Antiracist Baby by Dr. Ibrim X. Kendia. This book, Cruz pointed out, is assigned to kids between four and seven years old at the school. After detailing the book’s message, Cruz asked, plainly, “Do you agree with this book, that is being taught with kids, that babies are racist?”

What spoke volumes was not so much what she said but what she didn’t say. After promptly addressing him as “Senator,” she went several seconds without saying anything. It was a painful deer-in-the-headlights moment. Was it a hard question to answer? Shouldn’t that have taken a split second to say she disagreed with the book?

Eventually, she finally replied, “I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they’re racist or though they are not valued or though they are less than—that they’re victims that their oppressors I don’t believe in any of that.”

You could hear Jackson struggle to get the words out. First, she claimed she didn’t know whether Critical Race Theory was taught in the school, even though her position presumably would mean she would know. Then she tried to backtrack on her answer to a previous question about whether Critical Race Theory was taught in schools by claiming she thought Cruz only meant public schools.

The only thing Jackson managed to convince me of is that she knows that she can’t publicly embrace Critical Race Theory as a Supreme Court nominee without endangering her nomination. She sounded more like a sleazy lawyer than a legal scholar.

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