Cory Booker moves Ketanji Brown Jackson to tears as he boosts her history-making Supreme Court nomination
Cory Booker moved Ketanji Brown Jackson to tears with a speech about the historic nature of her nomination.
Booker's words came near the close of another contentious day of hearings.
"Don't worry my sister, God has got you," Booker told Jackson.
Sen. Cory Booker on Wednesday moved Supreme Court Ketanji Brown Jackson to tears while he spoke about the historic nature of her being the first Black woman nominated for the Supreme Court, shifting the focus during an otherwise contentious day of confirmation hearings.
"You did not get there because of some left-wing agenda. You didn't get here because of some 'dark money' groups," the New Jersey Democrat told Jackson, referencing some of the Republican attacks on Jackson. "You got here how every Black woman in America who's gotten anywhere has done, by being, like Ginger Rogers said, 'I did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards in heels.'"
Jackson reached for tissues multiple times to wipe her tears during Booker's emotional tribute, which included lots of praise for the judge's record and how she's inspired countless Black women.
Booker's comments came after several Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee spent the day tearing into Jackson's record. Many claimed she's been soft on child pornography because she imposed shorter sentences than the federal guidelines recommended. Legal experts have rejected the accusations, saying they lack key context that Jackson's conduct was within the mainstream and that the guidelines are overly severe and outdated. Jackson, a mother of two daughters, defended her record and repeatedly emphasized how serious she considers the crimes and takes her job as a judge. Jackson has also received several endorsements from top law-enforcement officials and organizations across the country.
"It's not gonna stop, they're gonna accuse you of this and that," Booker told Jackson, "But don't worry, my sister, don't worry. God has got you. And how do I know that? Because you're here and I know what it has taken for you to sit in that seat."
Booker said his GOP colleagues' criticism of Jackson would not "steal my joy," adding: "Nobody is taking this away from me."
—CSPAN (@cspan) March 23, 2022
Booker was on the verge of tears himself when speaking about Jackson making history as the first Black woman nominated for the nation's highest court.
"When I look at you — this is why I get emotional — I'm sorry," Booker said, holding back tears. "You're a person that is so much more than your race and gender. You're a Christian. You're a mom. You're an intellect. You love books. But for me, I'm sorry, it's hard for me to look at you and not see my mom, not to see my cousins."
"I see my ancestors and yours," he added. "Nobody's going to steal that joy. You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American."
Booker, who ran for president in 2020, brought up Jackson's stated hero, Judge Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman to serve on the federal bench. The senator recounted that Motley, a civil rights icon, encountered charges that she was a communist during her confirmation process. He also invoked Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist who was instrumental in the Underground Railroad.
"She was viciously beaten," Booker said of Tubman. "She faced starvation, she was chased by dogs, and when she got to freedom what did she do? Rest? No, she went back again, and again, and again. The sky was full of stars, but she found one that was a harbinger of hope for better days, not just for her and those people that were enslaved, but a harbinger of hope for this country."
Booker said he has thought about Tubman as Jackson's nomination is considered before the committee.
"I thought about her and how she looked up," he told Jackson, who was seated just a few feet in front of him. "She kept looking up no matter what they did to her she never stopped looking up. And that star, it was a harbinger of hope. Today, you are my star. You are my harbinger of hope."
Earlier on, Booker brushed off his shoulder. Jay-Z famously rapped about brushing dirt off your shoulders, which President Barack Obama himself referenced during his historic 2008 presidential run. Booker told Jackson not to worry about the attacks she's sustained. He added that senators could theoretically yell, "Beyonce can't sing," but the very utterance of such a claim would not make it true.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, expressed gratitude toward Booker for changing the tone of the day. "Thank you, Cory, for the moral reset after so much cynical poison," Whitehouse wrote on Twitter.
Booker also grew emotional as he talked about how he'll react if Jackson is confirmed, a likely outcome given that even in the worst-case scenario she can be confirmed by Democratic votes alone.
"When that happens, when you ascent onto the highest court in the land, I'm going to rejoice," he said. "I'm going to tell you right now the greatest country in the world, the United States of America, will be better because of you."
Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated a quote from Booker. It's since been updated.
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