senate judiciary committee
Politifact Swats Down Rightwing Claim That Bush Nominated First Black Female SCOTUS Justice
The United States Senate made history on Thursday when it voted 53-47 to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. Jackson will officially take the bench of the nation's highest court later this summer, when outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer begins his retirement. She will be the first Black woman Justice in the Court's 233 year history.
Jackson's confirmation period was marked with harsh, often incendiary questions from Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who falsely suggested that she was a Trojan horse for critical race theory and that she was softer in sentencing pedophiles than her colleagues.
Another talking point spewed by Republican elected officials and media personalities is that Judge Jackson wouldn't have been the first Black woman Justice if Senate Democrats hadn't blocked the nomination of Judge Janice Rogers Brown to the Supreme Court.
In reality, Judge Brown was never nominated to the Supreme Court. Though she was considered a possible nominee in the wake of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement in 2006 and then-Senator Joe Biden warned she would likely be filibustered, then-President George W. Bush nominated Justice John Roberts instead.
Shortly after, Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist passed away, prompting Bush to adjust the appointment so that Roberts would replace Rehnquist instead of O'Connor. He then appointed White House counsel Harriet Miers, a white woman, who later abdicated her nomination amid criticisms that she was unqualified. He then appointed Judge Samuel Alito.
Amid viral social media posts falsely claiming Judge Brown was nominated by Bush to the Supreme Court and blocked by Democrats, fact-checking site Politifact shot this claim down in a recent tweet.
Janice Rogers Brown, a Black woman, was never nominated to the Supreme Court. She was considered a potential contender to replace the first woman on the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor, when O’Connor retired in 2006. https://t.co/tz1AE4butRpic.twitter.com/7TQa6yzhmG
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) April 7, 2022
An article linked to the tweet points out that Democrats did filibuster Brown's earlier nomination to the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, though she was ultimately confirmed:
"Biden was among the 43 senators to vote against ending debate on Brown’s nomination, and that filibuster ultimately lasted for two years until a group of senators reached a bipartisan agreement that cleared the way for her confirmation. Biden again voted against ending debate on the nomination but the motion passed, and Brown was confirmed on June 8, 2005, with a vote of 56-43. Biden also voted against her nomination."
But as the saying goes, a lie can go all the way around the world before the truth has time to put on its shoes. This particular lie was parroted by the likes of Fox News host Jesse Watters, misrepresented by Senate Judiciary member Lindsey Graham, and multiple viral social media posts to boot.
But Twitter users were quick to share PolitiFact's correction.
It’s amazing how easy it is for these elected officials to lie and be believed when a simple Google search will show them as the unrepentant cowards and liars they commit to being.
Janice Rogers Brown was NEVER NOMINATED TO THE SUPREME COURT. https://t.co/LqH6vFNrqh
— Treva B (@divafeminist) April 8, 2022
@LindseyGrahamSC FYI but I'm betting that you already knew this, though. #GOPLiesAboutEverythinghttps://t.co/JihP8EbdHD
— Cindy Strait 🌻 (@CStrait2) April 8, 2022
If Janice Rogers Brown had been nominated, don’t you think Black ppl would have known? You really think we would be out here erasing Black history? When y’all do enough erasing https://t.co/DEDaLFgKPW
— Dr. Openly Excessively Black & Disabled (She/Her) (@4WheelWorkOut) April 8, 2022
Republicans sad attempt to steal KBJ’s thunder. Why lie?! It’s really getting ridiculous. #KBJconfirmationhttps://t.co/6JKTgZufUr
— Tawnya Shaw (@LadyTshaw3) April 8, 2022
So why is the GOP lying about it? https://t.co/MnUR5Vp7Fz
— April Green (@AprilGreen93) April 8, 2022
At this point, Fox could say the sky is green and viewers would believe it *facepalm* https://t.co/N7VgYyjFV8
— Colleen A. Roache (@ColleenARoache) April 8, 2022
Other apparently clairvoyant conservative tweeters insist Brown would've been nominated to the Supreme Court eventually if Biden and 42 other Senators hadn't filibustered her nomination to the D.C. Circuit.
She wasn't nominated because Biden made it clear he would filibuster her. He kept her off SCOTUS. https://t.co/MaLowbg144
— KatLadyNE (@KatLadyNE) April 8, 2022
Yes, she wasn't nominated because Biden promised to filibuster her and kill her chances like he had already done in an earlier appointment to a lower court. She wasn't nominated BECAUSE OF BIDEN. https://t.co/G0A0h2LfXP
— Zees United (@TruthTeIIerz) April 8, 2022
Judge Janice Rogers Brown may well have been the first black woman nominated to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, Joe Biden threatened that if President Bush were to nominate here, the nomination would be filibustered and killed. https://t.co/sOGi1kObhG
— CoolCzech (@CoolCzech1) April 8, 2022
Judge Jackson appeared with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris today in the White House lawn to discuss her confirmation.