Topics for today: conservative grievance and rage; Marriage Equality is the next conservative target; Christian behavior; religious tests; longing for a 12th century past.
(I usually display an image from one of the items I post, but for today I’ll show this image of a Monkey Puzzle Tree, a couple of which we saw in the Salesforce Park a few days ago, as described in my post three days ago.)
Slate, Jim Newell, 23 March 2022: Explaining Lindsey Graham’s Many Interruptions of Ketanji Brown Jackson
And then there’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, whose criticism comes from a position of undisguised grievance and gut rage.
In both of his operatic questionings of Jackson, on Tuesday and Wednesday, Graham began with complaints about Democratic treatment of past Republican judicial nominees and concluded with a giddy plea for a different class of criminal to be thrown in jail forever. Sometimes these fits were directed toward Jackson. Other times they were directed toward the committee chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin, who after decades of knowing Graham still can’t figure out what to do about him. And at all times, they were directed toward a rolling camera.
Slate, Mark Joseph Stern, 23 March 2022: The Ketanji Brown Jackson Hearings Show Marriage Equality Is the Next Target Once Roe Falls
The GOP, alongside the conservative legal movement, has built up a massive infrastructure to fight the culture wars. After Roe, it will need a new target, and marriage equality is the obvious choice. Republicans never really gave up on the issue, but rather staged a tactical retreat after Obergefell, pressing for sweeping exemptions from civil rights laws to legalize discrimination against same-sex couples. But after Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett replaced the gay-friendly Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this retreat slowed to a crawl, and Republicans sought to regain some ground. They pressed the Supreme Court to roll back protections for same-sex couples (to no avail—yet) and have now launched a campaign to mandate anti-LGBTQ discrimination in schools. A GOP legislator in Texas has asked Attorney General Ken Paxton to declare that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage remains valid and enforceable.
Comment: This reminds me of how, once conservatives lost the battle for civil rights back in the 1960s, they had to find a new target to keep their base united, and chose abortion, previously a non-issue, even among Catholics. (As discussed before.) It’s not about core values so much as keeping the movement alarmed and activated.
AlterNet, Meaghan Ellis, 24 March 2022: Tennessee pastors express ’embarrassment’ over Marsha Blackburn’s ‘inappropriate’ behavior during SCOTUS nominee hearings
Senator Blackburn tossed away an opportunity to behave professionally in favor of currying votes from her political base. Her vocabulary of fear-mongering is in stark contrast to the faith she claims in a Savior who reminds us repeatedly, ‘do not fear,’ and ‘the first shall be last, and the last shall be first,’ while on the other hand, Judge Jackson shows the ability to live out the believer’s call to ‘do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God,’ as all Christians should strive to live out.
Comment: Well, of course. No one paying attention ever expects “Christians” to really behave in the way their faith teaches. Especially the part about bearing false witness (i.e. lying by misrepresenting the positions of someone they oppose). Thus, from Rev Billy Vaughan:
“She took past statements by the nominee grossly out of context solely to make political points,” said Vaughn. “Those points had nothing to do with either the truth of the statements or the qualifications of Judge Jackson. Contrary to Senator Blackburn’s suggestion that Judge Jackson had an ‘agenda,’ the opposite was clearly the case. That Senator Blackburn rudely and consistently interrupted Judge Jackson when she tried to answer the legal and judicial issues involved suggests that the Senator’s primary agenda was creating sound bites for her political base. She used terms such as ‘progressivism,’ ‘critical race theory,’ ‘white privilege’ and ‘social justice’ to, I assume, offer an alternative conservative agenda. But what was she conserving? Certainly not the truth, something on which our judiciary and our life in community depend.”
OnlySky, Hemant Mehta, 23 March 2022: Lindsey Graham’s grilling of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s faith backfired, subtitled, “Graham didn’t expose a double-standard about Ketanji Brown Jackson’s faith. He exposed the GOP’s inability to handle faith responsibly.”
During the second day of her confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson had to put up with the expected barrage of Republicans’ predictable and theatrical questions, designed more for the FOX News coverage than learning anything useful about the nominee.
Graham went on to explain why he was going through this line of questioning. He didn’t particularly care about any of her answers; he merely wanted to expose what he believed was a double standard: If those questions about religion were uncomfortable for Jackson, then why was it okay when other senators questioned the views of Amy Coney Barrett when she was up for federal judgeships?
There were legitimate reasons to ask Amy Coney Barrett about her faith
In 2017, when Barrett was a nominee to become a federal judge, she was asked by the Senate Judiciary Committee about how her Catholics beliefs might influence her decision making. It was an absolutely fair line of questioning because Barrett had written papers discussing how Catholics like her should deal with parts of the law they don’t agree with.
And here’s the topper for today.
Right Wing Watch, 24 March 2022: ‘I’m a 12th Century Man’: White Nationalist Nick Fuentes Longs for the Days of Catholic Monarchy, Crusades, and Inquisitions
“Who said I’m a 21st century man?” Fuentes bragged. “I’m a 12th century man.”
“Fuck the UN, and the internet, and democracy,” Fuentes declared. “You know what democracy has given us? Obesity. Low rates of literacy. It’s given us divorce, abortion, gay marriage, liberalism, pornography. That’s what democracy has given us. Ghettos and crime and political correctness. Diversity. Yeah, the track record of democracy? Not so good. Catholic autocracy? Pretty strong. Pretty strong record. Catholic monarchy? Catholic monarchy, and just war, and crusades, and inquisitions? Pretty good stuff.”
Comment: This is the ideal past conservatives long to return to? Well, for some of them!