After consideration and a deadlocked vote from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the United States Senate voted to advance Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. With support pledged from three Republican Senators, Jackson's confirmation is virtually inevitable, setting the stage for her to become the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice.
Predictably, conservatives' questions and comments regarding Judge Jackson have ranged from nonsensical to outright combative. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina asked Jackson invasive questions about her faith. Far-right Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee demanded Jackson define the term "woman." Other Senators falsely accused her of being soft on pedophiles.
And though Jackson has been confirmed on a bipartisan basis by the U.S. Senate multiple times, the Senate debate ahead of an impending floor vote remains chock full of conservative vitriol.
One particularly vicious comment came from far-right Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who claimed Judge Jackson would've defended the Nazi Party leaders who were tried at Nuremberg beginning in 1945.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) literally says Ketanji Brown Jackson might have defended Nazis at Nuremberg:
"The last Judge Jackson left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and prosecute the case against the Nazis. This Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them." pic.twitter.com/K0eHZ56sGY
— The Recount (@therecount) April 5, 2022
“The last Judge Jackson left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and prosecute the case against the Nazis. This Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them.”
The quip was an apparent allusion to Judge Jackson's time as a public defender, which included some work on behalf of a group of men detained at Guantanamo Bay, accused of terrorism. Because, in the United States of America, anyone accused of a crime is entitled to legal representation, Jackson often had to represent clients that no private lawyer would've taken on.
What's more, Justice Robert H. Jackson—the man to whom Cotton alluded, who left the Supreme Court to serve as chief U.S. prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials, knew the value of public defenders. When drafting the London Agreement—the documents establishing the authority and rules of the trials—Jackson and his colleagues determined that even the Nazis had a right to counsel.
Meanwhile, Cotton's brutality is nothing new. He's asserted that the United States—which has the largest number of prisoners and the highest worldwide incarceration—has an "under-incarceration problem." He's called slavery a "necessary evil."
People took the Senator's latest comments as further confirmation of his character, or lack thereof.
Wanna know what makes my blood boil about stuff like this? Sen Cotton is a Harvard-educated lawyer. He knows better. Yet he chooses to traffic in this kind of dishonest racist trash that he fully knows will divide people. Hope it’s worth your soundbite on Fox News, Senator. #SMH https://t.co/Q36PbyozBe
— Angel Romero Jr (@AngelRome) April 6, 2022
Wtf is going on in Arkansas?? What kind of ppl elect someone this depraved to represent them in the Senate??? https://t.co/EUhZwQcLEX
— 💫Maya💞Loves💞Maya💫💋 (@TURKSAYSHI) April 6, 2022
What on earth makes him think/say something this absurd? I think Tom Cotton needs to go lay down. https://t.co/0X3bS91wPt
— 👊Mr. G-Ram👊 (@G_Rhodenizer) April 6, 2022
Remember when the word deplorable was a thing? pic.twitter.com/aVgdLWIwty
— Kevin McNamee (@kwmcnamee) April 6, 2022
Others pointed out the nuances and necessity of due process.
I get partisan politics & let the GOP blast a Democratic nominee but she was a public defender. They represent, by nature, criminals. Our system will not work unless those accused have a zealous advocate. Does it mean she should a SCOTUS judge? That's up to the Senate, not me https://t.co/beSuOtoH5D
— Andy Kravetz (@andykravetz) April 6, 2022
It takes no courage at all to *prosecute* Nazis.
You're telling me she would have been so committed to due process that she would take the slings and arrows hurled at her to *defend* them?
Then you're not convincing me to dislike her. https://t.co/Jnho07Yk9a
— Marc J. Randazza (@marcorandazza) April 5, 2022
How much do you have to hate the Constitution and love government power to criticize someone for having served as a public defender and helped the poor exercise their 6th Amendment rights? @TomCottonAR would have despised John Adams. https://t.co/PcX1glIWSQ
— @bishoplawfirm (@bishoplawfirm) April 5, 2022
I see...associating defenders of democracy and the rule of law with Nazis. An interesting propaganda point to push right now, where have I heard that recently? https://t.co/gHai72tE3m
— Ruth Ben-Ghiat (@ruthbenghiat) April 5, 2022
What Cotton misses: The Nuremberg Trials were not kangaroo courts. The Allied Powers gave each defendant competent defense.
Sheesh, he's never even seen "Judgment at Nuremberg"? That film was only slightly fictionalized. https://t.co/Jg85mHL7P8
— NewMexican, Ex-Texan (@OGrady_Texas) April 6, 2022
A final floor vote on Jackson's nomination is expected this week.