New Orleans Eating breakfast in Santa Fe with a colleague recently, he brought up the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings into the qualifications of Judge Jackson to become the first black woman justice of the US Supreme Court. Jumping from town to town in New Mexico, I could honestly say, I wasn’t up to date. If he had asked me how many antelope I had counted along the road between Cimarron and Las Vegas, New Mexico, I could have quickly answered, 52, but that wasn’t the topic, it seemed. I was still conscious enough to know this had been a week when everything about the Supreme Court seems like a hot mess.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz along with other colleagues seems to have gone off the rails on the issue of what some seem to call “critical race theory” or CRT, and most of the rest of us call “teaching history.” It seemed he wanted to talk about the curriculum at some private school in Georgetown, the whoopity-whoop suburb of Washington, DC, and whether or not they were teaching this CRT there. It seems Judge Jackson has been on the board of that school for two or three years, largely because her best friend and former college roommate at Harvard or wherever, who is also a law professor, was chair of their board. The notion that Judge Jackson would have known what they are teaching first or second graders, just because she’s on the board, is sort of bizarre on its face. The fact Senator Cruz has two daughters in a DC school teaching the same general curriculum is a rich irony. Nonetheless, I miss the relevance, as lawyers might say. Does the US Supreme Court have a current suit on its docket addressing critical race theory or academic freedom and the ability for schools, especially private schools, to teach just about anything they might want? Is the federal government or the US Senate about to mandate curriculum to the states? What’s the point? Does he want her to recuse herself if something comes her way on the by-and-by? Someone should whisper in Senator Cruz’s ear that just because he can’t get elected President, doesn’t mean that we all have to be a captive audience to craziness.
If he and his team on Judiciary really want to protect the American people, he might want to read something else in the paper that is more worrisome about the Supremes than teaching our nation’s factual history about slavery and its enduring inequities. Ginnie Thomas, the far-right wife of longtime Justice Clarence Thomas, has long been a worry to all of America’s sentient beings. A series of her text messages to Mark Meadows, the former Congressman and last of Trump’s chiefs of staff, were very explicit about her position that he needed to do more to overturn the 2020 vote so that Trump could usurp and steal the election. Some are calling for a pledge from Justice Thomas that he recuse himself if any matter related to January 6th hits the court. Believe me, that is only a demand, because people realize there’s no way that Justice Thomas would resign. Just the same, none of us are ever going to be ready to believe that the Justice didn’t know something of his wife’s advocacy about the 2020 election.
Every once in a while, Chief Justice Roberts tries to claim the Supreme Court is apolitical, neutral, and just the facts, ma’am when it comes to the law. Anyone who still believes that is probably getting ready to make a bid to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.