Today, the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the United States Supreme Court, marking the end of a month-long confirmation process that sets the stage for Judge Jackson to become the first Black woman on the nation's highest court.
Though Judge Jackson has been approved by the Senate for lower courtships on a bipartisan basis multiple times, Senate Republicans have pulled out all the stops to smear her, claiming she has a soft spot for pedophiles, blasting her work as a public defender, and painting her as a Trojan horse for critical race theory.
Among these Republicans is far-right Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who said of Judge Jackson on the Senate floor:
"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.”
Cotton was alluding to Jackson's work as a public defender, as anyone in the United States who's been charged with a crime has the right to legal representation. 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.
Even hosts on the conservative Fox News network were skeptical of Cotton's smear.
"You don't think it was a bridge too far to make the link with Nuremberg and Nazis?" -- Tom Cotton's smear of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for defending Gitmo detainees seems to be a bit much even for Fox News pic.twitter.com/iecmqAmB6E
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 6, 2022
Fox host John Roberts asked:
"Again, she was in the federal public defender's office. She says she didn't get to pick and choose her clients. This really is a matter of due process, and I'm wondering, why make that link between Judge Jackson and the Nazis and the Nuremberg Trial?"
Cotton proceeded to claim Jackson had continued to work in defending accused terrorists after her time as a public defender, though his claims continued to misrepresent her work and the circumstances. None of those Jackson represented or filed amicus briefings for were convicted of terrorism or any other crime.
Roberts proceeded to ask:
"You don't think it was a bridge too far to make the link with Nuremberg and Nazis?"
The Senator said no, but social media users widely disagreed.
Cotton is a sour, unhappy man who's never viewed the Senate as anything more than a means to an end. But the end he wants will never be. He has no interest in being an effective senator. He'll make a doomed, half-hearted run in 2024, leave the Senate in 2026, and then fade away. https://t.co/nIUBuJqTdK
— Senator Milton Young (@SenMiltonYoung) April 7, 2022
Cotton, a lawyer, Harvard graduate, could not have forgotten that the Constitution covers everyone in the country, not just Americans. And that Gitmo had ALLEGED terrorists that, in many cases, were never charged.He didn’t forget, he hopes the FOX audience didn’t know. https://t.co/FlY9t7XZSw
— Ma’at (@Maat50086180) April 7, 2022
Cotton keeps saying she was defending "terrorists" when this was during the trial stage, prior to any convictions. That together with his statement that non-Americans aren't entitled to trials when accused of crimes implies ... what? How's he think it works? https://t.co/Ih0JjrGreo
— John Haas (@haas1235) April 7, 2022
I would like to remind everyone that John Adams defended the British soldiers who carried out the Boston Massacre. You know, the guy who later became PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. https://t.co/cXUdmqtYLe
— Robert Miller (@bostongamer) April 7, 2022
You don’t have to be a citizen for our laws to apply or to get a robust defense. https://t.co/mVujMRgwnx
— Glen Graham MSEd (@coachglen) April 6, 2022
I think Harvard needs to take back Tom Cotton's law degree if he still doesn't understand the right to representation. https://t.co/D9e9M3Pkkh
— techweenie 🌊 (@techweenie) April 6, 2022
Some said Fox's skepticism should've been a red flag.
How bad must you be if Fox News denounces your statement? I'm thinking you're pretty much at Mussolini level. https://t.co/LMJ2FT0f7V
— Bankston's Liberal Mom 🏳️🌈🇺🇦 (@ColorMeLiberal) April 7, 2022
When even Fox News is like "man, I dunno..."https://t.co/50FLV2bK5U
— Rob Flaherty (@RFlaherty46) April 6, 2022
The strategy to attack Judge Jackson with over the top, non credible attacks isn't even convincing the anchors on Fox News https://t.co/Z3pXcyptal
— Ben LaBolt (@BenLaBolt46) April 6, 2022
Despite Cotton's smears, Jackson has enough votes—including some from Republicans—for her nomination to pass.