Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) delivered an impassioned speech Wednesday during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Ketanji Brown Jackson, eliciting a visibly emotional response from the Supreme Court nominee who is poised to become the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Throughout his speech, Booker repeatedly emphasized the significance of Jackson’s nomination, invoking the achievements and struggles of Black Americans — both famous and otherwise — that paved the way for the federal judge’s bid for the Supreme Court.
“You did not get there because of some left-wing agenda. You didn’t get here because of some dark money groups,” he said as Jackson wiped away tears. “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.'”
Booker — who himself is the only Black senator on the committee and one of three Black senators — also shared an anecdote detailing how he was approached while jogging by a Black woman who wanted to express to him how much Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination meant to her.
Sen. @CoryBooker to Judge Jackson: "I'm not letting anybody in the Senate steal my joy…Don't worry, my sister. Don't worry. God has got you. How do I know that? Because you're here and I know what it's taken for you to sit in that seat." pic.twitter.com/m7cGjLrftZ
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 23, 2022
Booker’s speech provided a strong contrast to questioning from Senate Republicans, who have used Jackson’s nomination hearing to deploy a series of bizarre and nonsensical racist dog whistles. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) drew ire Monday when she suggested that white privilege doesn’t exist in America and accused Jackson of having a race-based “personal hidden agenda.” On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) unironically asked Jackson if she believed “babies are racist.”
“You are a person that is so much more than your race and gender — you are a Christian, you are a mom, you are an intellect, you love books,” Booker said, alluding to the GOP’s attacks on 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’s taken for you to sit in that seat.”
Jackson again became emotional Wednesday during questioning from Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), who asked Jackson how she felt about being an inspiration for young Americans from similar backgrounds. “I hope to inspire people to try to follow this path, because I love this country, because I love the law, because I think it is important that we all invest in our future,” she said.
On Thursday, a series of invited legal experts will testify before the committee in the final day of hearings.