Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has really covered a lot of ground in the past 24 hours.
During today’s historic Supreme Court nomination hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman ever nominated, Blackburn read what sounded like a culture war Mad Libs, invoking parental rights in education, the New York Times’ 1619 Project, critical race theory, transgender athletes, and child predators. The day before the hearings, she referred to Griswold v. Connecticut, a fundamental privacy case that established the right for married couples to use birth control—and one that undergirds the right to abortion and marriage equality—as “constitutionally unsound.” Nothing but the hits!
Blackburn, who has the dubious distinction of being the only Republican woman on the Senate Judiciary Committee, started her opening statement by noting that Jackson isn’t just a judge but also a mother of two daughters—her “best job,” Blackburn said. The senator then took a soft pivot to parental rights, followed by a screeching hard pivot to full transphobia. She obliquely referenced transgender NCAA swimmer Lia Thomas, saying that schools allowed a “biological male” to compete against a “biological woman” at the highest level of collegiate sports, because that is certainly the greatest issue facing America today.
Blackburn also said “biological women” are being treated like second-class citizens, which is rich coming from someone who would consign people capable of pregnancy to be broodmares. Not 24 hours ago, she attacked the constitutionally protected right to use birth control and, in July, she signed a legal brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Here’s a clip:
Blackburn then regurgitated Senator Josh Hawley’s meritless attack on Jackson’s sentencing of defendants in child pornography cases before wondering aloud if it was Jackson’s “personal hidden agenda to incorporate critical race theory into our legal system” and whether Jackson wanted “to let violent criminals, cop killers and child predators back to the streets.”
It’s almost astonishing that lawmakers like Blackburn can talk about supporting parental rights and private family decisions with a straight face, when they oppose the rights of parents to support their gender-expansive children or the rights of people to choose whether and when to become parents. But the sad fact is that their positions are not inconsistent—they believe these rights only exist for people who think exactly like they do.