The Manila Times: US Supreme Court nominee can’t, won’t define what a woman is

The Manila Times

I HAVE been so absorbed these past few weeks by developments in the Ukraine war, and the ongoing election campaign, that it’s a relief whenever I encounter an issue or a story that’s an interesting diversion. It was in this light that I reviewed a stunning development in the confirmation hearings this week of a US Supreme Court nominee by President Biden.

The nominee — a black American judge and a woman — stunned America and members of the legal community everywhere, when she declared that she can’t define what a woman is, on the ground that she is not a biologist. Oddly, however, the judge is a mother; she has several daughters.

I trust that our own judiciary, which is peopled by so many women and men, is not in any danger of descending to this level of ingenuousness?

As a cautionary note against such a time, and a call for thoughtfulness amid the fashionable talk about LGBTQ and their marriage rights, I want to call attention today to this most unusual story.

Despite her impressive resume, however, Jackson did not acquit herself well under tough questioning by the Senate. On issue after issue, she whiffed, at times pretending not to have an opinion, or acting as if she didn’t really know much about certain landmark legal cases and current controversies.

According to one analyst, it became very clear under questioning that Jackson has been disingenuous about her legal philosophy and extreme political beliefs that encompass race, gender, crime and culture, among other things.

Her answers were at times not believable.

Her exchanges with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) were particularly telling. At one point the senator asked her this simple question: “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?”

Jackson’s answer: “Can I provide a definition? No. I can’t.”

She also said in response to the same question, “I’m not a biologist.”

Blackburn brought up a case called United States v. Virginia, in which the US government sued Virginia over the Virginia Military Institute’s male-only admissions policy. The Supreme Court struck down the policy in a 7-1 vote, and Blackburn quoted from the majority opinion written by liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

This was an extraordinary exchange. United States v. Virginia, often known as the VMI case, was a very, very big deal. Some observers could not believe that Jackson, with her years at the highest level of the law, did not know the case. “It’s truly a groundbreaking case, taught in every law school,” said Mike Davis, head of the conservative Article III Project and a former chief counsel for nominations for the Senate judiciary committee. “She’s either really not up to the job, or she’s lying.”

It was at that point that Blackburn asked the question, “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?”

“Can I provide a definition?” a somewhat surprised Jackson asked. “Yeah,” said Blackburn. “I can’t,” said Jackson. “You can’t?” asked Blackburn. “Not in this context,” responded Jackson. “I’m not a biologist.”

It was an amazing moment, and a terrible one for Jackson. You have to be a biologist to know what a woman is? Who would say that?

Blackburn was ready for Jackson’s dodge. “So you believe the meaning of the word ‘woman’ is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?” she asked. “Senator, in my work as a judge, what I do is I address disputes,” Jackson explained. “If there’s a dispute about a definition, people make arguments, and I look at the law, and I decide, so I’m not — “

“The fact that you can’t give me a straight answer about something so fundamental as what a woman is underscores the danger of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about,” Blackburn responded. Her point was made.

Read the full article HERE.