By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Brandeis University professor Anita Hill said Thursday that Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the US Supreme Court marked an “important cultural moment” for the court and the country.
“I don’t think we should underestimate this is clearly an important political moment, and that’s been mostly what we talk about. It’s an important moment for the court, and that’s what we should be talking about. But let’s think about this as an important cultural moment,” Hill told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.”
Jackson’s confirmation by the US Senate — to be the first Black woman on the high court — “enables a possibility of us seeing the court as a more representative body at the highest level,” Hill said.
Hill’s name has been tied to the Supreme Court nomination process for more than 30 years after she in 1991 accused then-nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. She faced intense questioning about her accusations from a panel of all-male senators; now-President Joe Biden, who chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time as a senator from Delaware, has said he regrets how her allegations were handled.
“More work needs to be done at other levels of the federal system, but this is an important moment because it’s happening at the top of our system,” Hill said Thursday of Jackson’s confirmation.
Throughout the Senate vetting process, Democratic senators praised Jackson as an exceptionally qualified, trail-blazing nominee whose depth and breadth of experience, including as a federal public defender, would add a valuable and unique perspective to the bench.
But her confirmation hearings also featured sharp and critical questioning from Republicans as many attempted to portray Jackson as weak on crime and, in a highly charged line of attack, too lenient in her sentencing in child pornography cases.
Hill said Thursday that even though she wasn’t surprised by the conduct of some senators, it was still “shocking” to see how Jackson was treated.
“I think she did a brilliant job, and very thoughtful job, of talking about the way she judged and how she saw the law and the importance of the law. And, you know, it just is too bad that got marred by the kinds of tactics that were being employed by some of the senators that were just out-and-out specious attacks,” Hill said.
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