Reviews | How Tim Scott missed the story

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Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first confirmed black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, has a well-deserved place in history. Senator Tim Scott (RS.C.) also deserves a footnote at the end of his story. The first African-American senator to represent a southern state since 1881, Scott voted against elevating Jackson to the nation’s highest court.

Explaining her opposition, Scott said, “Justice Jackson’s judicial philosophy and positions on the defining issues of our time make her the wrong choice for the Supreme Court.”

This, despite overwhelming evidence that Jackson’s record as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit put her well in the legal mainstream. Scott also said he voted against Jackson for “leaving the door open for court packing” – an objection he didn’t raise when Judge Amy Coney Barrett avoided answering questions about the case. release of the court during its confirmation hearing.

Scott, however, will go down in history for what he didn’t say or do when the time came.

As the only black member of the Senate Republican caucus, Scott stood by her side as her GOP colleagues harassed, defiled and harassed a well-qualified and widely respected black woman with false libels and attacks of bad faith. Ahead of Jackson’s confirmation hearing, Scott said he looked forward to “a respectful and thorough hearing process.” But when the bullying started, Scott disappeared.

As a follow-up Monday, I asked Scott’s press secretary Caroline Anderegg if the senator had any comments on Jackson’s treatment during the hearings. Anderegg said Scott had said everything he was going to say about Jackson’s nomination, and as far as the hearings go, Scott has “no comment on that.”

Jackson, to his credit, resisted the abuse with dignity and a show of deference his attackers did not deserve. She won the support of several Democrats, including Sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.) who spoke out against the shocking insults directed at her. Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) has been pushed to criticize Republicans for their treatment in the hearings, calling their behavior “shameful” and “embarrassing.”

Raphael G. Warnock of Georgia, the first black Democrat to be elected to the Senate from a former Confederate state, showed his appreciation for the significance of the event.

“Yes, I’m a senator, I’m a pastor, beyond all of that, I’m a father to a young black girl,” Warnock said during the Senate confirmation debate. “I know how much it means to Judge Jackson to have navigated the double jeopardy of racism and sexism to now stand in the glory of this moment, in all her excellence.”

And he wrote in a letter to his 5-year-old daughter, Chloe: “In the history of our nation, she is the first Supreme Court justice who looks like you – with hair like yours.”

Jackson was disavowed by someone who looks like him and is now claiming victimhood for himself.

Referring to South Carolina’s other Republican senator, MSNBC host Joy Reid tweeted that Scott let Lindsey O. Graham “and the sheriffs dog walk him” when it comes to police reform and joins Graham’s “barking dog racism” on opposite Jackson.

Scott called the criticism “vile” and “offensive” for suggesting “a black man can’t think for himself”. I have to follow someone else. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” he said. “It reinforces the approach of liberal elites to minorities who won’t conform and do what they tell us to do.”

Raised in a poor single-parent family in South Carolina, Scott earned mightily through his Republican Party affiliations. A big star in his chosen world, he is often praised by former President Donald Trump, who gave Scott’s bid for re-election in 2022 “my complete and total endorsement”. And the pro-Scott super PAC Opportunity Matters Fund is awash with money from Republican megadonors.

How to explain Tim Scott?

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at The New School in New York on February 6, 1964, about the civil rights movement and how people respond to calls to serve.

“Niggers are human, not superhuman,” King said. “Like everyone else, they have different personalities, diverse financial interests and varied aspirations. There are niggers who will never fight for freedom. There are Negroes who seek only themselves to profit from the struggle. There are even niggers who will cross to the other side.

“These facts shouldn’t worry anyone,” King explained. “Each minority and each people has its share of opportunists, traitors, profiteers and escapees. The hammer blows of discrimination, poverty and segregation must distort and corrupt some. No one can claim that because a people can be oppressed, each individual member is virtuous and worthy.

“Decency, honor and courage,” King said, are the dominant characteristics to look for.

The historic struggle for progress, King told the audience, has always had “masses of decent people, and their lost souls.”

And maybe therein lies the answer: Tim Scott, enjoying the gains of his right-wing world; and, Tim Scott, lost his soul while running his God-given race.

Either way, his place in history is assured.


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