Discover more from Abernathy Road
Cruz, Graham others in GOP on wrong track in Jackson attacks. Ex-prosecutor 'Comeys' Trump
By Gary Abernathy
Note to Sen. Cruz: GDS is not ‘overflowing’ with CRT
It’s fine to ask tough questions of any presidential nominee for an important post. But Sen. Ted Cruz’s bizarre questioning of President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, regarding her affiliation with Georgetown Day School and critical race theory was just silly.
Cruz noted that Jackson serves on the board of trustees of the Washington D.C.-based private school, which serves preK-12th grade students*. As reported by NPR, Cruz claimed “that the curriculum at the private school is ‘overflowing with critical race theory,’ citing books like How to Be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, a children's book. He had blown-up images from the latter behind him as he spoke.”
It’s a crime that critical race theory has become the favorite bogeyman for so many Republicans. In a world where Republicans rightfully bemoan the crushing of conservative voices on the most popular social media platforms, they hurt their cause by turning around and arguing that liberal viewpoints should be suppressed. Why should anyone be afraid of ideas, from the left or the right? In fact, my understanding is that the books mentioned by Cruz aren’t being taught at GDS, they were merely part of a list of suggested reading. But what if they were being taught? So what?
I’ve had the pleasure of being a guest at Georgetown Day School four times since 2018, in line with the faculty’s goal of making sure to expose students to a wide range of political ideas. During what has become a three-day program in which I participate each year (except 2021 due to covid), students hear from speakers ranging from pro-Trump conservatives to Never-Trump Republicans to moderate and liberal Democrats and many more. They get to ask questions and engage in conversations that I’ve never found less than thoughtful and respectful. Yes, I’m a little defensive of Georgetown Day School.
Cruz said GDS is “overflowing with critical race theory.” During my visits, I’ve never had to step over or around any CRT books or literature, or had to push my way through a crowd “overflowing” with proponents of the theory.
In fact, during my last visit in February the class and I discussed CRT. The students didn’t bring it up, I did. I shared my views on it, and listened to theirs. Is there a problem with that?
Too many Republicans used their time to ask Jackson nonsensical things when there are legitimate legal issues to discuss.
Sen. Lindsey Graham has been widely criticized for asking Jackson several questions about her religious beliefs. In fact, Graham was making a point about how badly Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump nominee, had been treated during her hearings for both the Circuit Court and then the Supreme Court.
Graham concluded his questioning by noting, “I am convinced that whatever faith you have and how often you go to church, it will not affect your ability to be fair and I just hope going in the future that we all can accept that. Judge Barrett, I thought, was treated very, very poorly.”
It’s a fair point, but Jackson, of course, had nothing to do with the Barrett hearings and should not have had to serve as a prop for Graham making an otherwise very valid complaint.
During her hearing, Jackson promised to approach every case neutrally and follow the Constitution. If that turns out to be true, it should not be unusual to see her siding with Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Neil Gorsuch as often as she sides with Justice Sonia Sotomayer and Justice Elena Kagan.
I doubt that will happen. My guess is that she will come down on the liberal side of almost every case, to my chagrin. Nevertheless, Jackson is a well-qualified nominee. Biden has a right, as the winner of the presidency, to make nominations of his choosing, and the Senate — Democrats and Republicans alike — should respect that and vote to confirm Jackson. We need to get back to the days when nominees get unanimous or nearly unanimous support from the Senate, regardless of the politics of the president making the nomination, or the direction it might take the court, as feared by either side.
* An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Georgetown Day School serves grades 1-12. It actually serves preK-12.
Former prosecutor throws fit, goes ‘Comey’ on Trump
This was an unnerving story to anyone who believes in being treated fairly by those who have the power to investigate their fellow Americans: From the New York Times:
One of the senior Manhattan prosecutors who investigated Donald J. Trump believed that the former president was “guilty of numerous felony violations” and that it was “a grave failure of justice” not to hold him accountable, according to a copy of his resignation letter. The prosecutor, Mark F. Pomerantz, submitted his resignation last month after the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, abruptly stopped pursuing an indictment of Mr. Trump. Mr. Pomerantz, 70, a prominent former federal prosecutor and white-collar defense lawyer who came out of retirement to work on the Trump investigation, resigned on the same day as Carey R. Dunne, another senior prosecutor leading the inquiry.
So if your boss says we’re not pursuing charges, and you think he’s wrong, you air your complaints in a letter that you know will become public so you can convict the person in the court of public opinion.
Ring a bell? Say, former FBI director James Comey, for instance, who took a similar route with Trump? Comey arranged for a memo he wrote on Trump to be leaked to the New York Times with the goal of pressuring the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Trump — which led to Robert Mueller’s “collusion” investigation and two years of “Russia, Russia, Russia.”
Later, Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on Comey’s actions found the following:
"The responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties. Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility. By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees — and the many thousands more former FBI employees — who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information."
Comey, of course, acted as though he had been vindicated. But “Comey” should be a new verb. To “Comey” someone should be defined as: “A law enforcement official or former official who doesn’t get his or her way, and then throws a tantrum and engages in tactics to prosecute someone in the court of public opinion.”
There’s a serious problem in places like prosecutors’ offices, the FBI and other similar investigative agencies if, when some people don’t get the outcome they want, they throw a fit and stomp their feet hoping to get their way and smear the target of their investigation by other means.
If you’re a Trump hater, you might think that’s great. But imagine if you’re the one on the receiving end of such treatment by law enforcement officials we trust to be fair, impartial and apolitical.
There’s enough political drama in Ohio for a whole nation
In my new Washington Post column, I take a look at the many soap operas unfolding in Ohio right now.
Republican candidates in a Senate primary are competing with World Wrestling Entertainment for most outrageous behavior. An incumbent Republican governor faces a rebellion and primary opposition from within his ranks. A Republican-led redistricting process is repeatedly shot down by the Republican chief justice of the state supreme court — leading to impeachment threats from GOP lawmakers and the likely rescheduling of the primary. And the pending trial of the former Republican state House speaker on racketeering charges is being called the biggest corruption scandal in state history.
The piece was ready for publication before I could add another silly event that happened when Gov. Mike DeWine and one of his GOP primary challengers, Joe Blystone, got into a tiff. The Columbus Dispatch reported it this way:
Video released by the Blystone campaign shows the two gubernatorial candidates talking for a bit before Blystone points at DeWine. DeWine then touches Blystone’s shoulder, but Blystone pushes DeWine’s arm away. Shortly after, three men with DeWine direct him away from Blystone, separating the two. The governor travels with security.
You can read my column here. A subscription may be required if you have exceeded the limit this month on free articles.
Sign up or share this newsletter
Please sign up to receive this newsletter directly into your inbox or, if you are already a subscriber and reading this by email, share with a friend using the convenient button below. Thank you.