Vox: Mike Davis: My goal is to make this a political wash for Democrats


There’s very little reason to doubt Ketanji Brown Jackson will be confirmed and become the first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice. She doesn’t need to garner any Republican support in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and her ascension in place of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer won’t shift the ideological makeup of the court.

But this week’s hearings to vet the historic nominee will provide a platform for both Democrats and Republicans to send political messages, and that’s what they’re signaling they will do.

For Democrats, it’s an opportunity to confirm a historic new member to the Supreme Court, help President Joe Biden deliver on a big promise he made to Black voters during the campaign, and make the case for some Republicans to support her, too. For Republicans, it’s a chance to use Jackson’s nomination, and the support she’s gotten from liberal groups like Demand Justice, to question whether Democrats are too far to the left and “soft on crime.”

“I think [Republicans’] focus is going to be trying to accuse Democrats and Biden of being pro-crime, to try to obscure the dark money history of their last three nominees with a lot of smoke about her supposed dark money history,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Judiciary Committee, told Vox. “I think she’s less going to be the target than us, and they’ll be pivoting off her to make points for November.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaled as much in a recent floor speech about Jackson’s nomination. “We need to explore why the farthest-left activists in the country desperately wanted Judge Jackson in,” McConnell said. “Liberals are saying that Judge Jackson’s service as a criminal defense lawyer and then on the US Sentencing Commission give her special empathy for convicted criminals.”

“My goal is to make this a political wash instead of a political win for Democrats,” says Mike Davis, the head of a right-leaning group called The Article III Project, who’s also had informal talks with Republican committee staff.