Commentary

Republicans should have won Oscars last night. The show must have been rigged.

New York, NY - April 29, 2018: US Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during 7th Annual Jerusalem Post Conference at Marriott Marquis Hotel
New York, NY - April 29, 2018: US Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during 7th Annual Jerusalem Post Conference at Marriott Marquis HotelPhoto: Shutterstock

During awards season, I propose a few never given at the Oscars, the Emmys, Golden Globes, or the Tony Awards.

I nominate for an Overacting award Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), from the great state of South Carolina, for his performance during Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Though not a classically trained actor, he is committed to playing one on TV.

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From his constant barrage against Judge Jackson’s sentencing decisions to his criticism of her amicus brief that she wrote on behalf of prisoners held without trial at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba, Graham deserves the award for Overacting Bully In A Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing.

I am perplexed about Graham’s charge that her nomination is “problematic” simply because her selection was supported by “so many of these left-wing radical groups that would destroy the law as we know it.”

Does he mean the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police or the National Education Association? Or is Graham referring to support for Judge Jackson from 86 bipartisan former state Attorneys General and almost 60 former Department of Justice Officials?

On the other hand, he had no problem with the nominations of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, who were all supported by actual far-right wingnut groups such as the Federalist Society, FreedomWorks Foundation, and Judicial Crisis Network.

Asking Judge Jackson, “What faith are you, by the way?” clearly demonstrates his own lack of understanding of the Constitution since the very question is unconstitutional. Look at  Article VI, Clause 3:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

With all his many reservations and concerns, why he would vote in favor of Judge Jackson for two previous federal judgeships: the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the D.C. Circuit Court. He explained this apparent discrepancy by admitting that he did not attend the other hearings.

Did he vote to confirm someone to a lifetime judicial position without sufficient information? Well then, let’s nominate him also for the Award For Legislative Malpractice too.

For his work in supporting the violent insurrection on our Capitol and trying to link Judge Jackson with child pornography, I nominate for the prestigious award Pandering To QAnon the not-so esteemed co-conspirator in the demise of U.S. Democracy, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).

Hawley’s constant barrage played into the far-right conspiracy theory of some sort of Democrat network of child sex traffickers. This mass delusion proposed that a secret cabal ran a global child trafficking network supported by Hillary Clinton that Donald Trump was trying to stop. The conspiracy theory, referred to as “Pizzagate,” falsely claimed that the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C. was the alleged center of a human trafficking and child sex ring.

Edgar Maddison Welch, a 28-year-old man from North Carolina, entered the restaurant and fired three shots from his AR-15 style rifle. He said he came to the pizzeria to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory, and if true, to free the children held there.

For his award-nominating performance, we can hope that Hawley will soon himself be testifying in front of another congressional committee: The January 6 Committee.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R) from the less-than-great state of Arkansas gets my nomination for the award of playing the most confused member of the committee for his questioning of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Cotton must have had cotton in both ears and in his mouth since he seemed intent on asking Judge Jackson questions that would have been better suited to ask candidates for the position of the attorney general or chief of police.

“Does the United States need more police or fewer police?” he asked. “Is someone more likely or less likely to commit crime if they’re more certain they’re going to be caught, convicted, and sentenced? … Do you know what percentage of murders are solved in America?” Answering his own question, he said, “The answer is about half—54% in 2020.”

Continuing his unusual line of questions for a judgeship, “Do you think we should catch and imprison more murderers or fewer murderers? … So is that a yes, we should catch more murderers, specifically the 46% of murderers who get away with it?’

“Let’s turn to assaults,” he said. “Do you know how many assaults were solved in this country in 2020?” with his own answer: “44%. So 56% of all assault victims did not receive justice. … Do you know what percentage of sexual assaults and rapes go unsolved in this country? 77%.”

Good job, Tommy. But if you ever watched the TV show, Law and Order, you would know that the executive branch is tasked with catching the accused – the Law segment – and the judiciary is responsible for trials and sentencing – the Order part. But never mind, I now pronounce you chief of police for the state of Arkansas!

I would like to return to the award nominating process for Sen. Ted “Cancún” Cruz (R-TX). He must also be awarded for his role as a cheerleader for banning and censoring schoolroom curriculum. In this regard, I jointly nominate Cruz and his conservative colleague, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) (who gives me heartburn) from the tarnished state of Tennessee for blaring the loudest racist bullhorns. Blackburn continued Cruz’s false flag battle operation against Critical Race Theory and parental rights.

In a totally weird exchange with giant page reprints paid with taxpayer funds of Ibram X. Kendi’s children’s book, Antiracist Baby, Cruz asked Judge Jackson “Do you agree with this book that is being taught to kids that babies are racist?”

Blackburn also deserves a prize for playing the role of Christian Crusader defending the gender binary system by raging against the freedom of transgender people to define themselves and live their lives without the constraints that others have imposed.

Blackburn sought to trap Judge Jackson by asking the peculiar gotcha question: “Can you define the word ‘woman’?” When Judge Jackson responded that she could not, especially “not in this context. I’m not a biologist,” Blackburn raised her Christian patriarchal voice.

“The fact that you can’t give me 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,” Blackburn said before she then ranted about transgender athletes during her allotted time.

Attempting to retrieve the banner of the patriarchal Christian Crusade, Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) ran straight in the direction of marriage for same-sex couples, legal since the 2015 Supreme Court Case of Obergefell v. Hodges.

For this, I place Cornyn’s name in nomination for two separate awards, one for playing the role of joining “Church and State” at the crotch by asserting how unfair is the Supreme Court’s Obergefell’s decision on people’s “deeply held religious beliefs” to be able to hold prejudice and to discriminate against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. The second award Cornyn is due is in playing the fool in his lack of understanding of constitutional law by asking Judge Jackson, where the right to marriage equality is in the Constitution? Cornyn complained that “the Supreme Court articulated a new fundamental right, which is a right to same-sex marriage.”

Where in the Constitution does it state that anyone of any sexual or gender identity has the right to marry? For that matter, since it’s not there either, does the U.S. have the right to establish an Air Force?

There are many unenumerated rights that have developed in case law throughout the 246 years we call the “democratic experiment.” If Cornyn wasn’t playacting, he should go back to high school and enroll in a civics course.

Throughout various hearings over the years, we have seen similar actors in Grade C (conservative) movies many times before. Their roles stand out as trial balloons, as canaries in the coal mines for the elections to see how far they can go in using their scare tactics.

With all the venom spewing out of the mouths of some Republican Senators at the hearings, one overriding truth remains starkly and irrefutably clear.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a great American who has fought against incredible odds to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. This is a great honor, which she has earned.

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