As Supreme Court hearings go, Ketanji Brown Jackson’s has been mundane so far. There have been no false accusations of gang rape and partisan senators have not read excerpts from her yearbook. Instead, Republicans have stuck to substantive questions, hitting KBJ on her record and her legal philosophy.
But even that was a bridge too far for her supporters. Apparently, they expected complete subservience to and lavish praise of their nominee. You know, the exact opposite of how Democrats treated Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Thus, the talking points went forth, with one of them centering on Sen. Josh Hawley’s concern over KBJ going easy on those who traffic in child pornography. While Hawley’s approach was fair and stayed in the lane of relevance to her record, the White House threw out talking points claiming that he had previously voted for three judges with the same philosophy on sentencing pedophiles.
A naive ABC News reporter then tried to repeat those talking points verbatim in an attempted “gotcha” of Hawley. It did not go well.
— Abigail Marone 🇺🇸 (@abigailmarone) March 22, 2022
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a Republican asked a question like this only to see them meekly respond by talking themselves in circles and then disengaging. Hawley’s approach is how most gotcha questions should be handled because most gotcha questions are ultimately rooted in surface-level assumptions brought forth without any prior research.
This reporter didn’t just come across the charge that Hawley was a hypocrite based on his prior votes for other judges. She was sent it by the White House. Her claim that it’s just “public information” was quickly demolished the moment Hawley asked her to give him details.
Again, this is how you handle a gotcha question. When the reporter throws out their partisan talking point, ask them what they are talking about. Ask what the sources for their claims are. Ask for specific details that are necessary to support the premise of their question. When they can’t provide them, victory is assured.
As to the actual substance (or lack thereof) behind the charge against Hawley, as the senator noted, the White House and its dutiful media allies have provided no real details to show that the other judges were somehow congruent with KBJ on the sentencing of pedophiles. Yet, even if they were, that’s irrelevant for two reasons. One, those judges were not nominated to the highest court in the land. Two, it would stand to reason that a lower court nominee would not garner the same scrutiny as one being placed on the Supreme Court.
Those defending KBJ’s record should defend it based on the merits. If they believe she was right in her lenient treatment of pedophiles, tell us why she was right. Cheap, thinly sourced distractions such as this one pointed at Hawley need not apply, and it’s good to see a Republican ready and waiting to combat such a weak strategy.
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