On Sundays "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," the host asked Republican senator Roy Blunt of Missouri whether he had decided how he'd vote on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court. Blunt responded
Well, I have, George. And good to be with you this morning.
You know, I've thought -- initially, my sense is that the president certainly had every good intention and every right in the campaign to talk about putting the first black woman on the court. I think it's time for that to happen. I was hoping that I could be part of that. I had a great conversation with her.
"Putting the first black woman on the court. I think it's time for that to happen" means "it's not time for that to happen." He was "hoping that I could be part of that," suggesting that he would have been just fine with a right-wing black woman. Blunt continues
Really, there are two criterias, I said immediately. One is, is the person qualified for the job? And two is, what's her judicial philosophy?
She's certainly qualified. I think she's got a great personality, I think will be a good colleague on the court. But the judicial philosophy seems to be not the philosophy of looking at what the law says and the Constitution says and applying that, but going through some method that allows you to try to look at the Constitution as a more flexible document, and even the law. And there are cases that show that that’s her view.
I think she's got a great personality. For men of Blunt's age (71), in their youth "she's got a good personality" meant "although she is ugly."
I think she’s certainly going to be confirmed. I think it will be a high point for the country to see her go on the Court and take her unique perspective to the Court but I don't think she's the kind of judge that will really do the kind of work that I think needs to be done by the Court.
I think it will be a high point for the country to see her go on the Court and take her unique perspective to the Court. You know what's coming next.
It's such a "high point" that the Senator added "I won't be supporting her but I'll be joining others in understanding the importance of this moment."
Roy Blunt on ABC says Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirming to SCOTUS will be "a high point for the country," but he won't support her. Asked why by Stephanopoulos, he offers a word salad. pic.twitter.com/QLjE4sDcMR— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 3, 2022
The term "moment" is curious. If the moment is most important, it was the moment candidate Biden promised he'd nominate a black woman for the Court or the moment the President actually did so. No Republican had anything to do with that. It was all Joe Biden.
But the moment itself itself is of no significance unless it's tied to placement of a black woman on the Court. Roy Blunt wants no part of that and will not be part of that, given that he will cast his vote against Jackson.
Roy Blunt admits he will vote against someone he maintains "will be a good colleague on the Court" and whose confirmation by the Senate "will be a high point for the Court." He also applauds her "unique perspective" while asserting opposition to Jackson's judicial philosophy.
This makes no sense except in the context of the election of Barack Obama in 2008, which was followed by unaffiliated voters and Republicans expressing pride that a black man they had voted against was elected President. They had hoped (for whatever reason) he would not become President, they did their small part to block his election, and then claimed the country had triumphed over racism. Of course, having made their point about the wonderfulness of America, they proceeded to vote against Obama's re-election, and four years later there was Donald Trump.
Roy Blunt, and very likely some of his colleagues, are viewing this upside-down, with a harmful "perspective." If the confirmation of a judge or election of a president for whatever reason is "a time for that to happen" or speaks well of a nation, the individual should be confirmed or elected. Helping the nation always is better than hurting the nation.
It's not as if Roy Blunt, or most GOP senators, will be voting against Ketanji Brown Jackson because she is black. And the least of reasons to vote for, and the least of reasons to have nominated, her should be her race.
For Democrats, it should be the opportunity to support a Democrat, and one whose approach to the law is one that will serve the country well. For Republicans, it could be that the Court needs a ninth member and if the nominee is of a Democratic president, it may as well be one highly qualified and personally impressive.