Following a party-line decision by the Republican-appointed majority on the Supreme Court, which effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions, conservative media outlets and personalities smeared Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as being a racist and undeserving of her position after she dared to point out in her dissenting opinion that racism and its structural disadvantages persist in the United States.
The June 29 decision, which all six Republican-appointed justices voted for, ruled that affirmative action programs at two universities violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. This amendment was designed to expand constitutional rights to formerly enslaved Americans, and the Equal Protection Clause was commonly understood to protect Black people from discrimination, though its interpretation was later expanded to protect other groups from discrimination as well.
Jackson noted in her dissent in one of the cases that “our country has never been colorblind,” despite the court’s majority ruling that the Equal Protection Clause should be colorblind:
Our country has never been colorblind. Given the lengthy history of state-sponsored race-based preferences in America, to say that anyone is now victimized if a college considers whether that legacy of discrimination has unequally advantaged its applicants fails to acknowledge the well documented “intergenerational transmission of inequality” that still plagues our citizenry.
With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, on Thursday, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat. But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.
In response to Jackson’s dissent explaining that historical racial discrimination continues in America, conservative media outlets and personalities rekindled their deranged smear campaign dating back to her nomination. They baselessly accused her of racism, and specifically echoed the racist smears that white supremacist and former Fox News star Tucker Carlson directed at Jackson, claiming the Justice is unqualified for her position. (During the 2020 campaign, President Joe Biden promised to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, and fulfilled that promise when nominating Jackson.) On June 29, conservatives called Jackson a “diversity hire” and made similar comments about her qualifications to be a Supreme Court justice.
- Radio host Erick Erickson: Jackson’s dissent is “explicit racism.” On Twitter, Erickson wrote: “Ketanji Brown Jackson's explicit racism is more at home in the Taney Court than the Roberts Court. It is remarkable to read her views on race.” [Twitter, 6/29/23]
- Erickson also claimed that Jackson has a “racist world view.” [Twitter, 6/29/23]
- Erickson: Jackson made “racist comments” in her dissent and “was literally put on the court because of the color of her skin.” [Twitter, 6/29/23]
- Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk called Jackson a “recipient of affirmative action” who is “unqualified” to serve on the Supreme Court. [Real America’s Voice, The Charlie Kirk Show, 6/29/23]
- Kirk continued smearing Jackson on Twitter, questioning her qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court. [Twitter, 6/29/23]
- Podcast host Jesse Kelly called Jackson a “diversity hire.” On Twitter, Kelly wrote: “It’s understandable why a diversity hire like KBJ would be a little salty at the prospect of anyone have their Black Card rejected.” [Twitter, 6/29/23]
- Fox guest Devon Whitehill also called Jackson a “diversity hire.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 6/29/23]
- The Federalist claimed Jackson is arguing “for institutional racism.” The Federalist published an article headlined: “Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Dissent Is An Argument For Institutional Racism.” [The Federalist, 6/29/23]
- The Federalist’s Jordan Boyd: Affirmative action is why Jackson became a justice. The Federalist also published an article headlined: “Of Course Ketanji Brown Jackson Supports Affirmative Action. It’s The Only Reason She’s A Supreme Court Justice.” [The Federalist, 6/29/23]
- Former OAN host Liz Wheeler: Jackson’s dissent was “insulting, reductionist racism.” [Twitter, 6/29/23]
- Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton implied Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination was “racial discrimination.” On Twitter, Fitton wrote: “Justice Jackson's radical dissent today trying to justify racial discrimination is especially interesting in light of how she was selected.” [Twitter, 6/29/23]
- Fitton also wrote on Twitter that Jackson is a “critical race theorist.” [Twitter, 6/29/23]
- Turning Point USA’s Benny Johnson repeatedly called Jackson a “racist.” On Twitter, Johnson wrote: “Ketanji Brown Jackson just argued against ‘colorblindness’ and in favor of mores systemic racism in America. What a bad person she is. Shame on Joe Biden for nominating this racist to the Supreme Court.” [Twitter, 6/29/23]
- Johnson again called Jackson a “racist”: “Wow. Ketanji Brown Jackson is a racist. She wants to give special privileges to people based on their skin color. She is the definition of a Jim Crow Democrat. Pretty evil stuff here.” [Twitter, 6/29/23]
- Manhattan Institute’s Ilya Shapiro: “Having now read the dissents, I’m even more against affirmative action in judicial selection.” [Twitter, 6/29/23]