Despite four days of sound and fury, Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson remains just as popular as she was when her nomination was first announced; and just as likely to be confirmed.
Republicans entered the hearing eager to exploit this opportunity to spread their midterm message to a wider audience, with GOP Senators repeatedly referencing hot-button cultural issues that animate the conservative base. Ted Cruz displayed pictures from children’s books on race, Lindsey Graham asked Judge Jackson to rate her faithfulness on a 1-10 scale and Marsha Blackburn requested the definition of the word woman.
Republicans feel that the Brett Kavanaugh hearings were responsible for gaining them two Senate seats in the 2018 midterms and are hoping for a repeat in 2022. In reality, though, a favorable Senate map was likely more responsible for GOP success that year. Furthermore, the Kavanaugh hearings were held in September of 2018, while Judge Jackson’s are taking place in March. It’s tough enough to keep an event in the minds of voters for seven weeks, but seven months is practically impossible.
Nevertheless, the competition among Republican Senators to get that viral breakout moment of the hearings was intense, with Josh Hawley’s efforts at painting Judge Jackson as soft on child pornographers garnering the most attention.
Hawley, who of course was also the first Senator to object to the results of the 2020 election, went with this attack even after it was debunked by several news outlets, including the conservative National Review. A number of commentators also noted that Hawley’s line of questioning appeared to be a dog whistle for believers in the QAnon conspiracy.
Judge Jackson sentenced one of the theory’s most prominent believers, a man who fired three shots inside a pizza place, to four years in prison. By implying that the judge went easier on child pornographers, he’s catering to a group that is among Donald Trump’s most zealous supporters, in a bid to further Hawley’s own presidential ambitions.
Hawley’s attacks had no effect on red state Democratic Senators like Joe Manchin and Jon Tester, however, and Jackson’s nomination remains on track. The only question is whether moderate Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski join them in support. Despite coming close a number of times over the years, no Supreme Court nomination has ever been decided on a strictly party-line vote.
The Judiciary Committee is planning to vote on recommending Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination on April 4, with the full Senate set to take it up later that week.
No one’s ever really gone.
Andrew Cuomo, the former New York Governor who resigned in disgrace due to multiple sexual harassment accusations as well as an investigation into whether his office downplayed COVID deaths in nursing homes, is weighing jumping back into the 2022 campaign.
It would seem that New York Democrats always feared this was a possibility, and that one reason they so rapidly threw their support behind new Governor Kathy Hochul was to fight off any restoration attempt from Cuomo.
The first signs that the ex-Governor was testing the waters for a comeback were reports that his still-existing campaign bought $369,000 worth of TV time. His first ad falsely claimed he was exonerated, while a second one touted his record as Governor. So far, he’s spent $2.74 million on TV ads in New York.
The next step was a combative address at a black church in Brooklyn. Casting himself as a victim of “cancel culture”, he openly stoked speculation by asserting “I have many options in life and I’m open to all of them.”
Time is also of the essence. Cuomo only has about two weeks left to gather the 15,000 petitions necessary to make the June primary ballot. There’s also the possibility that he could decide to run as an independent instead. Either way, his $16 million campaign war chest will dwindle down fast without a natural base of donors to refill his coffers.
Finally, there’s the question of Cuomo’s endgame. Is all this for restoration, relevance or revenge? A return to the Governor’s Mansion remains a long-shot, but if the deadline passes without a move, the media attention will fade away. Regardless, he won’t get a chance to take on his actual nemesis, Attorney General Tish James. After briefly jumping into the Governor’s race, James withdrew in favor of going for another term as AG.
Perhaps we can learn from the actions of his brother Chris Cuomo. After it was revealed that Cuomo tried to find out information about his brother’s accusers, and faced some sexual harassment allegations of his own, Cuomo was fired from CNN. Subsequently, Cuomo and his team began to leak a series of stories that lead to the ouster of CNN President Jeff Zucker and Chief Marketing Officer Allison Gollust. Turns out, the two engaged in a multi-year extramarital affair, and frequently violated journalistic ethics, including providing advice to Andrew Cuomo.
If that episode is any indication, the Cuomos are hell bent on taking down as many people with them as they can.