Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson gained bipartisan support Monday, essentially guaranteeing that the Senate will narrowly confirm her later this week. In response, the right-wing discourse has only crashed further into the gutter, as a smear campaign emanating from the QAnon conspiracy theory movement has become the norm for conservative thought.
Right-wing pundits responded to Jackson’s historic nomination by falsely accusing her of being lenient toward child pornographers. Now, in a last ditch attempt to derail her nomination, these pundits are accusing the public officials who support her of also being soft on pedophiles, or of being pedophiles themselves.
On his radio show Monday night, Fox News host Mark Levin made the outrageous claim that President Joe Biden was himself a “sicko” and had selected Jackson for the Supreme Court because of her supposed “weak sentencing” of pedophiles. “The whole thing is sick and creepy. It’s hard to understand if you're a rational human being,” Levin continued, before plugging his weekly Fox program Life, Liberty & Levin, where listeners could hear more about his anti-Biden conspiracy theories.
Mollie Hemingway, editor-in-chief of The Federalist and a Fox News contributor, claimed that Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) newfound support for Jackson was “super interesting” and “weird” in light of her purported “soft-on-pedos” rulings. (Romney had previously opposed Jackson’s nomination a year ago to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.)
Federalist CEO Sean Davis reacted Monday night to Romney’s announcement by falsely claiming that Jackson had a history of “going easy on child molesters and pedophiles.” Davis further commented Tuesday morning that Romney had previously opposed Jackson “until he learned she had a soft spot for child rapists.” He also invoked other right-wing culture war themes such as that she “couldn’t define ‘woman.’”
Newsmax host Benny Johnson accused Romney of “capitulation to pedophile communists.” (Johnson also called for the state of Utah to “recall Mitt Romney” from the Senate — a process that does not exist in the U.S. Constitution.)
BlazeTV host Steve Deace went on a chilling progression Monday night, at first attacking Romney’s support for Jackson by referring to her as a “soft on pedos judge” and then directly accusing her of being “the pedo judge” herself.
Oddly enough, Deace vocally supported Roy Moore in 2017 and pushed conspiracy theories regarding the multiple reports of sexual assault and predation on underage girls involving the former judge and then-Republican Senate candidate. In addition, the Federalist published articles at the time telling its readers to vote for Moore even if the allegations were true.
Considering that Jackson’s sentencing record in child pornography cases has in fact been consistent with that of other judges, including those appointed by Republicans, this sudden interest and vitriolic rhetoric from right-wing outlets is obviously not based in any sincere concern.