GOP uses Supreme Court confirmation hearings to keep attacking transgender people

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Republicans are outraged that Judge Jackson is not a biologist.

Republicans are using the Supreme Court confirmation hearings to both erase transgender people and smear Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for not joining in their anti-LGBTQ attacks.

In the past, Republicans have been critical of both the hostile treatment of the president's Supreme Court nominees by members of the opposing party and senators using confirmation hearings to pose policy questions that they cannot answer. But on Tuesday, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) grilled Jackson over her views on transgender rights and pressed her to offer biological assessments about sex and gender.

First, she asked Jackson — the first Black woman in history to be nominated to be a Supreme Court justice and only the seventh female pick — whether "schools should teach children that they can choose their gender."

When Jackson declined to weigh in on the school's curriculum, Blackburn asked, "Can you provide a definition for the word woman?"

"I can't," Jackson answered. "Not in this context. I'm not a biologist."

"The fact that you can't give me a straight answer about something as fundamental as what a woman is underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about," Blackburn scolded, before launching into a rant about transgender college swimmer Lia Thomas.

 

Blackburn has long been one of the most vocal opponents of LGBTQ rights in Congress and has frequently suggested that transgender people do not exist.

"Judge Jackson can't even define what a woman is," Blackburn tweeted on Wednesday morning. She added, "This is a simple question that requires a simple answer. It's a major red flag that a Supreme Court nominee backed by the far left refuses to define the word 'woman.'"

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday picked up the line of attack, asking Jackson, if "leftists" believe people can "change" their gender every hour, "Does that same principle apply to other protected characteristics? For example, I'm a Hispanic man. Could I decide I was an Asian man?"

The Republican National Committee and Virginia state GOP accounts quickly tweeted out the exchange between Blackburn and Jackson. Other anti-LGBTQ Republicans followed suit.

"40-year inflation high, record gas prices, Russia invading Ukraine, destruction of Title IX, a Supreme Court nominee that can't tell you what a 'woman' is..." complained Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

"This woman (even though she can't define what a woman is) has no business anywhere near the #SCOTUS," wrote Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), who is currently seeking the GOP nomination for Missouri's open Senate seat.

"If you can't define what a woman is, you shouldn't be on the Supreme Court," said Pennsylvania Senate candidate Carla Hands.

"Everyone is celebrating the historic nature of Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination because she is a black woman. But she herself can't define what a woman actually is," added Alaska GOP Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka. "Here's [sic] are more stumpers for her: Can a man get pregnant?"

"You don't need to be a 'biologist' to define a woman," agreed Ohio Republican Senate hopeful Jane Timken. "The fact that Democrat leaders and their Supreme Court nominee refuse to recognize over half the population shows the Left's distortion of reality."

Despite their dismissal of this as a simple question, it is not.

A person's sex assigned at birth — determined by chromosomes — does not always match their gender identity and is not always binary. Many people are born with both male and female chromosomes and traits.

Indeed, the Miriam-Webster dictionary definition says only that a woman is "an adult female person." Its definitions of "female" include both biological sex and gender identity.

Republicans also attempted to enlist Jackson at the hearings to opine on other biological and bioethical questions, including when life begins, when fetuses can feel pain, and at what point a fetus can survive outside the womb.

The anti-trans attacks come as the GOP has declared war nationally on transgender athletes, youth health care treatment, and education.