Marsha Blackburn refuses to apologise for asking Ketanji Brown Jackson to ‘define a woman’

Ms Blackburn is set to question Ms Jackson further on Wednesday

Andrew Feinberg
Wednesday 23 March 2022 14:40 GMT
Lindsey Graham probes Ketanji Brown Jackson about her faith

Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn is complaining that “the left” is trying to “shut down tough questions” after facing criticism for her plans to ask Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson questions drawn largely from Republican culture war grievances.

Ms Blackburn used her opening statement on Monday to question whether Ms Jackson, who currently sits on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and is the first Black, female nominee to the high court, has a “personal hidden agenda” to incorporate Critical Race Theory into the legal system.

Under questioning from GOP senators on Tuesday, Ms Jackson said CRT — an academic discipline which originated at Harvard and studies the way racism interacts with the legal system — “doesn’t come up” in her work as a judge and is “never something” she has “studied or relied upon”.

And when Ms Blackburn’s time came to interrogate Ms Jackson, she did not asked the judge about any legal theory or her judicial philosophy.

Instead, she asked the Harvard-educated jurist to define the word “woman”.

When Ms Jackson responded that she could not, Ms Blackburn replied:“You can’t?”

“Not in this context. I’m not a biologist,” Ms Jackson said.

“The meaning of the word woman is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?” Ms Blackburn asked.

Continuing, she said Ms Jackson’s inability to give 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”.

During an appearance on Fox Business Network, the Tennessee senator said the “liberal media” doesn’t want Ms Jackson to face questions about CRT, or her representation of Guantanamo Bay detainees during her time as a federal public defender (she faced questions about both on Tuesday).

“So to come out against what I've questioned her on, I'm doing my job, she said.

In a tweet posted on Tuesday, Ms Blackburn said “the left” is “doing everything in their power to shut down the tough questions that don't fit their narrative,” but neglected to note she would have the opportunity to question Ms Jackson once more on Wednesday.

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