“[Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Chuck] Grassley said [that the Senate questioning of Ketanji Brown Jackson] is not going to be a circus and then the questions started – I mean, the first [question to Jackson Brown] should have been ‘Why aren’t you under arrest?’” Bill Maher, March 26, 2022
After the questioning of Ketanji Brown Jackson by Republican senators in the hearings on Biden’s SCOTUS nomination, late-night comedian Bill Maher somehow reached the conclusion that “Today’s GOP would be thrilled to have no black justices on the Supreme Court.” Of course, Maher gave no evidence whatsoever for this claim. The actual evidence supports the precise opposite conclusion. A 2020 Yougov.com poll revealed that a substantial majority of Republicans see Clarence Thomas as their favorite SCOTUS Justice.
Since Maher has no actual evidence for his claim, he must address the fact that the GOP is happy to have Clarence Thomas on the court. Maher states, “I thought it was not exactly crooked to give the Black seat to somebody who didn’t represent the majority of Black thinking in America, but at least [Republicans] accepted the idea of at least one Black seat on the court.”
Although Maher’s syntax is quite revealingly odd here (but that is another story), the point seems to be that though the specific person Bush chose, Clarence Thomas, was strange, at least Bush gave the seat to a black person. Unfortunately, the suppressed assumption in Maher’s statement displays his profound ant-American misunderstanding of the nature of the Supreme Court, specifically, that it would have been better if Bush’s choice of a black person for the “Black seat” “represented the majority of Black thinking in America.”
It is not the job of a Supreme Court Justice to “represent the majority” of any group’s “thinking” in America. It is not the job of one Supreme Court Justice to represent the majority of black people’s thinking and the job of another to represent the majority of white people’s thinking, etc. It is the job of all Supreme Court Justices to be color-blind in the interpretation of the constitution in order to represent all Americans, black, white, etc. The US Constitution wisely nowhere specifies that there are to be color-coded seats on the Supreme Court. Although those sorts of ideas may be popular among undergraduates and their like-minded late-night comedians, such ideas are entirely foreign to the very idea of the United States constitution.
That is a patently unworkable idea if there ever was one. If Maher or any of the other late-night comedians or undergraduates can find the legal documents that specify that there are to be color-coded seats on the Supreme Court and that these should be filled by determining what the “majority” of the relevant “color” demographic, black, or white, etc., believes, they should certainly let us know at the earliest possible opportunity.
Maher’s view on this matter illustrates a common feature of most accusations by the Left. They say what they feel, or what they memorized in Sociology 101, or they express the visions they had while sitting cross-legged on the floor in a large circle of giggling adolescents passing around the “peace pipe,” not what is supported by actual evidence. Similarly, the FBI and an independent Senate Judiciary Committee investigation concluded that the Left had no actual evidence when they accused Brett Kavanaugh of trying to rape Christine Blasey Ford somewhere in some unspecified house on some unspecified date or of standing in line at a punch bowl with a bunch of unspecified people at some unspecified party waiting his turn to gang-rape some woman in a nearby room.
What they had in this latter case was a lawyer who is now in prison for fraud, an accuser with a history of false allegations, and a lot of “Democrats” and media partisans eager to stop the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court by any dishonest means necessary. Nor did they have any evidence that Kavanaugh exposed himself to a woman at a drinking party at Yale because the woman in question, coaxed by the media to testify, eventually remembered that she had actually been drinking quite a lot herself and it might have been someone else.
Similarly, the “Democrats” and “news” media did not have any evidence whatsoever for the charge that Trump had colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election. What they needed was some real evidence, a stained blue dress, a tape recording of the principles hatching the plot, a confession, etc., but they had nothing like that. What they actually had is that somebody said something in a bar and the “Democrats” and the “news” media began synchronized hyperventilating to drive the story.
It was later revealed that what actually started all this silliness about Trump-Russian collusion was a dossier that Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party purchased, ironically, from some Russians via a retired British spy that hated Donald Trump. One would have thought from all the hysteria that all these noble patriots (actually Democrat party and “news” media dirty-tricksters) actually had was nothing but venom and a willingness to cheat the American people out of a fair election.
The Left also had something else in each of these cases, what is called in psychology “confirmation bias”. That is, the Left typically does not begin with a neutral survey of the evidence and, on that basis, make a judgment about the truth of the matter. They begin with their own ideological prejudices and on that basis decide what the facts are. In the case at hand, superbly illustrated by Maher, they begin with the view that these evil Republican senators are racists and on that basis decide how to interpret the motives behind their questions. This is an excellent methodology if one is determined never to learn anything new – and that, in fact, explains a great deal about the contemporary Left.
In the case of Brown Jackson, however, there is in fact very good reason for the tough questioning. Despite the “Democrat” and media’s predictable fawning over her, she was unable to answer some of the simple questions posed to her. Astonishingly, she was unable to state the definition of the word “woman”, which is going to make it very difficult for her to interpret statutes that have the word “woman” in them or to address “woman’s issues” if, that is, one is still allowed in what remains of our formerly free country to speak of “woman’s issues” anymore. In addition, also astonishingly, she was not quite able to remember the basis for the infamous Dred Scott decision. So, no, there was no suggestion whatsoever in the GOP questioning that suggested that Jackson had committed some crime and should be arrested. Maher’s need for the massive hyperbole is a sure sign of the professional clown as opposed to the serious philosopher – the damage this may do to further divide the country not being an issue.
All the hyperventilating and virtue-signaling by Maher and others about the GOP senator’s questioning of Jackson is not based on any actual GOP senator misdeeds. It is about securing political advantage for their side of the aisle. The Left wants to be able to accuse Republican SCOTUS nominees of anything, for example, of being a gang-rapist, a drunk, etc., on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, but they also want to bully the Republicans into not asking any difficult questions to their nominees. The need for such bullying tactics shows that they are, understandably, quite insecure about their ability to provide good answers to hard questions. The disastrous first 14 months of the Biden administration should have made that abundantly clear. As a consequence, the Left has little choice but to insist that treating their side of the aisle equally by being forced to answer questions is unfair. As usual, the Left’s ultimate refuge is victimhood.
By Richard McDonough
Richard Michael McDonough, American philosophy educator. Achievements include production of original interpretation of Wittgenstein’s logical-metaphysical system, original application Kantian Copernican Revolution to philosophy of language; significant interdisciplinary work logic, linguistics, psychology & philosophy. Member Australasian Debating Federation (honorary life, adjudicator since 1991), Phi Kappa Phi. Richard is a regular contributor to The Blue State Conservative.
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