During Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, quizzed Jackson on critical race theory, an academic theory of racism’s systemic impact that has been assailed by conservatives.
Teachers groups and schools tend to argue that CRT is not often taught below the university level.
Jackson — who, if confirmed, would become the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court — said she had “never studied critical race theory” and “never used it.”
“It doesn’t come up in my work as a judge,” she said, adding that it was her understanding that it was taught in law schools.
Sen. Ted Cruz holding an antiracism book for children during the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Cruz then held up books — including “Antiracist Baby” by Ibram Kendi — that he said was used at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C., where Jackson is a board member.
An aide displayed posters showing enlarged pages from the book behind him.
“Do you agree with this book that is being taught to kids that babies are racist?” Cruz asked.
Jackson paused before answering.
Jackson listens to questions from Cruz as she testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)
“Senator, I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or that they are not valued, or though they are less than or that they are victims or oppressors,” she said. “I don’t believe in any of that.”
Jackson added that such themes “don’t come up in my work as a judge, which I’m respectfully here to address.”
Earlier on Tuesday during her hearing, the GOP’s main Twitter account posted a GIF of Jackson that included her initials — “KBJ” — being crossed out and replaced with “CRT.” The Republican Party’s tweet was widely criticized as a “racist dog whistle.”