Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was unrelenting when questioning Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson about critical race theory and whether it might influence her work as a justice during the second day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
In the most theatrical display of the day, Cruz spoke in front of several poster-sized blowups for emphasis. The first poster was an incomplete quote from a 2015 speech Jackson delivered, where she referred to Critical Race Theory to encourage students to study federal sentencing policy as an academic area implicating many topics.
“Sentencing is just plain interesting on an intellectual level, in part because it melds together myriad types of law — criminal law, of course, but also administrative law, constitutional law, critical race theory, negotiations, and to some extent, even contracts,” Jackson said in her speech. “And if that’s not enough to prove to them that sentencing is a subject … worth studying, I point out that sentencing policy implicates and intersects with various other intellectual disciplines as well, including philosophy, psychology, history, statistics, economics, and politics.”
Critical Race Theory has become a GOP talking point, but, in actuality, it is a broad-based term. Initially, the theory originated at Cruz and Jackson’s alma mater Harvard Law School, started as a line of thinking in law schools that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions.
Despite Republican’s beliefs, there is little to no evidence that critical race theory itself is being taught to K-12 public school students.
As Cruz pressed Jackson about her beliefs surrounding Critical Race Theory, Jackson responded, “It doesn’t come up in my work as it’s never something that I have studied or relied on, and it wouldn’t be something that I would rely on if I was on the Supreme Court.”
Cruz then directed the hearing’s attention to another poster-board, of illustrations of the children’s book, Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi. The book Cruz alleges is available at Georgetown Day School, an institution that Jackson is a board member of. However, as Rolling Stone pointed out, it not even included in the school’s list of anti-racist resources.
“Do you agree with this book that is being taught to kids that babies are racist?” Cruz asked.
Jackson sighed and paused before responding: “Senator, I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or though they are not valued or though they are less than their victims, that they are oppressors. I don’t believe in any of that.”