BUTTERFIELD, CBC WARN OF
NOVEMBER GOP VOTER SUPPRESSION
By Cash Michaels
North Carolina Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), along with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, warned last week that unless the U.S. Justice Dept. steps in, Republican-led states like North Carolina will see voter suppression efforts during the November 2022 midterm elections to undermine the Black vote.
“Voters will be suppressed this election, no question,” Butterfield told reporters. State are passing discriminatory laws that will definitely result in not just the suppression of the African-American vote, but also voters who tend to vote with the Democratic Party.”
Black Democrats in Congress, like Butterfield, blame in part, the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass two important voting rights bills in recent months that would have prevented attempts by Republican-led legislatures in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina to pass legislation to make it harder for people of color to cast a ballot.
Progressive and Black activists are furious that not only have Republicans have stuck together to oppose voting right legislation, but that Democrats have done the exact opposite, thus dooming passage.
In February, members of the CBC sent a letter to the U.S. Justice Dept. (DOJ) warning that “the future of our democracy is at stake.” The letter went on to call the GOP-led efforts to stop voting rights legislation as “unabashedly racist and partisan attacks on our nations’ democratic principles.”
“Our message is simple,” the February CBC letter, which added that the “coordinated campaign by the GOP was rooted in white supremacy,” continued. “Be creative. Be relentless. Be unapologetic in your commitment to do whatever it take to ensure that every American has their vote counted. No lawsuit is too trivial when it comes to the voting rights of citizens.”
Conservatives are musing that Black democrats are “already’ making excuses for losing the November midterms.
“Democrats are concocting excuses for upcoming midterm losses, which are likely to be devastating to the leftist agenda,” wrote Jeff Charles for the right-wing website RedState last week. “Black Democratic lawmakers are claiming that when they lose – which they will – it will be because Republicans passed legislation that will supposedly make it impossible for black people to vote. Indeed, they are already challenging the outcome of the upcoming elections.”
According to a January 22nd story in The Hill online newspaper, Senate Democrats in Congress don’t necessarily disagree with their Black counterparts, but they also don’t feel it’s productive to make accusations prior to the November elections.
“I don’t want to start calling into question elections ahead of time, that’s not productive whatsoever,” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) told The Hill then. “We saw that with the whole, ‘It’s all rigged,’ thing with President Trump. We need to see what actually plays out.”
The difference now is that several states with GOP -led legislatures have passed laws that seemingly suppress votes more than anything else. One of the key areas affected is the vote certification process, where vote counts can be overturned if Republican lawmakers don’t like the results.
Democrats, like Rep. Eric Swalwell (not a CBC member) warned that the 2022 midterm elections “are not only the most imports elections [of our lifetime, but] if we don’t get it right, it could be the last election.”
“If [Republicans] are able to win the House, the damage they could do to permanently make it difficult to vote and just alter the way we participate in a democratic process could be irreversible,” the California Democrat warned.
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
VOTES MONDAY ON JUDGE KETANJI
By Cash Michaels
Monday, April 4th is the day that the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Pres. Biden’s historic Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. If a majority of the 22-member committee votes favorably for Judge Jackson, her nomination then goes to the full U.S. Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NC) has said he would like to hold a full confirmation vote on Judge Jackson, who currently serves on the US Circuit Appellate Court for the District of Columbia, before the Senate goes on recess on April 8th. If she’s confirmed, Judge Jackson, 51, will become the first Black woman ever to sit on the nation’s highest court.
She credits her father, Attorney John Brown, who graduated from North Carolina Central University in Durham in 1968, and pledged Tau Psi of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in 1966, with inspiring her to study law.
Republicans, thus far, have proven that they’d like nothing better than to throw a wrench into that scheme. Last week’s four-day Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into Judge Jackson’s qualifications to sit on the high court clearly displayed Republican hostility towards Judge Jackson, most likely in an effort to gain political points prior to the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, and make Democrats struggle during confirmation.
Democrats need all 50 votes in the Senate, plus Vice President Kamala Harris in order to make Judge Jackson’s nomination a done deal.
While moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has said he will support Judge Jackson, his moderate colleague from Arizona, Sen. Kristen Sinema has not. Support from both is important to ensure 50 Democrat votes.
Democrats have said they would welcome bi-partisan support, but thus far, led by top Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, GOP senators have made it known that they will not be voting for Judge Jackson.
Her detractors complain that Jackson is soft on crime, particularly in meting out punishment for child pornography in past cases. They also charged that she legally defended terrorist suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Judge Jackson has countered that in terms of stiffer penalties for child pornographers, she routinely followed federal guidelines set by Congress, and suggested that those guidelines need to be updated given the new technologies used to distribute porn.
Jackson also made clear that her role as a zealous defense attorney fell in-line with what her responsibilities were in representing her clients, regardless of what they were charged with.
During last week’s grueling Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Judge Jackson - questioned for a combined 24 hours - also found herself expected to answer political culture war questions, at one point being asked by Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn if she knew what a woman was, or if she employed Critical Race Theory in her sentencing.
Careful not to enter the conservative rhetorical fray, Judge Jackson feigned ignorance as to what such a question would have to do with her qualifications to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. But even top Republicans like former Pres. Donald Trump tried to smear Judge Jackson, saying during a recent rally in Georgia, “If she can't even say what a woman is. How on earth can she be trusted to say what the Constitution is?"
Critics blasted Republicans for “baseless and frankly racist attacks” on Judge Jackson. Other critics chastised committee Democrats for not defending and protecting her enough from GOP attacks from senators like Josh Hawley, Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz and Marsha Blackburn.
Jackson is credited with maintaining her composure while under rhetorical GOP attack. But she couldn’t hold back the tears when Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey rhetorically embraced her with impassioned well wishes, calling her “my sister” and praising Judge Jackson for making history and accomplishing do much during her career on the bench.
“You faced insults here that were shocking to me,” Booker said. . Republicans are “gonna accuse you of this and that. But don’t worry, my sister. Don’t worry. God has got you. And how do I know that? Because you’re here, and I know what it’s taken for you to sit in that seat.”