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Decryption | In the Supreme Court as in professional wrestling



(New York) A neologism drawn from the vocabulary of professional wrestling could sum up what awaits Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, in the coming weeks: kayfabe.

Added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2015 and used by many French-speaking professional wrestling fans, the term refers to the entertainment’s own convention of presenting staged performances as authentic. The American sociologist Ariel Davis has already used it to explain the phenomena Donald Trump and Alex Jones.

“We’ll present you with something that’s clearly fake and insist that it’s real, and you’ll experience genuine emotion.” Neither side recognizes the pact, otherwise the magic is wasted,” he wrote in 2017.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham provided one of many examples last Friday of how the kayfabe will apply to Ketanji Brown Jackson.


Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator

If the media reports are accurate and Justice Jackson has been chosen as the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Breyer, it means the radical left has again imposed its will on President Biden.

Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator, in a tweet, before the news was confirmed

The elected official from South Carolina must rely on the amnesia of his Republican audience. Last June, he was one of three Grand Old Party senators to vote in favor of confirming Judge Jackson to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a stepping stone for many justices. to the Supreme Court.

It is true that Lindsey Graham had previously been favorable to the appointment of another magistrate considered by Joe Biden, in this case Michelle Childs, federal judge of South Carolina. But nothing in Judge Jackson’s career seems to justify associating her with the “radical left”.

God, the family and the law

Born in Washington 51 years ago and raised in Miami by two public school teachers, Ketanji Brown Jackson served as an associate to Justice Stephen Breyer (the one she is called to replace on the Supreme Court), after studied law at Harvard. She became a federal judge in 2013 under Barack Obama.

Last Friday, she painted a portrait of her family that was no doubt aimed at combating the idea of ​​any association with the “far left”, a term used by the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, another who knows His public.

After discussing her faith in God, Judge Jackson, wife of a surgeon and mother of two daughters, recalled that one of her uncles had been chief of police in Miami, and another, a detective in the sex crimes section. . She added that her younger brother now works as a police officer in Baltimore, where he takes part in undercover operations targeting drug traffickers.

His painting included a shadow, of course. Another uncle, Thomas Brown, was sentenced to life in prison in 1989 for possession of a large amount of cocaine for distribution.


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her speech at the White House last Friday, flanked by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris

You may have read that I have an uncle who was involved in drug trafficking and was sentenced to life. But law enforcement also runs in my family.

Judge Jackson at a ceremony at the White House last Friday

His appointment allows Joe Biden to fulfill an electoral promise, which aims to make the Supreme Court more representative, if not to change its ideological balance.

“For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America,” he said, introducing Judge Jackson. “I believe we have a Court that reflects all the talents and greatness of our nation. »

Senators to watch

The president seemed to take for granted the confirmation of his choice by the Senate. And he probably wasn’t wrong. If all 50 senators in the Democratic group remain united – and there is no indication that they will not – Ketanji Brown Jackson will become the first black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.

Not to mention that some Republican senators, including Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah), could vote in favor of confirming the judge.

Hence the allusion to kayfabe. Many conservatives and Republicans know that the chips are already down. They will not take part less during the next weeks in a staging presented as authentic and claimed by the militants of their party.

Some of them will be careful not to go too far in their opposition, not wanting to lend themselves to accusations of sexism or racism. But others will not hesitate to put all the gum into it. We think in particular of senators Ted Cruz (Texas), Josh Hawley (Missouri) and perhaps Tom Cotton (Arkansas). All three men serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings on Judge Jackson’s confirmation. They all harbor presidential ambitions.

Senator Cruz, like several of his Republican colleagues, has already denounced President Biden’s decision to limit the pool of candidates to replace Judge Breyer to black women.

“It’s offensive,” he said. Black women represent 6% of the population of the United States. He says to 94% of Americans, “I don’t care about you. You are ineligible.” »

In a statement released last Friday, Senator Hawley said he was “troubled by some aspects of Justice Jackson’s case, including her record on crime and criminal justice.”

The comparison with the kayfabe obviously has its limits. As Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s 2018 confirmation demonstrated, the showmanship can sometimes veer into genuine drama.

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