Republicans have spent hours this week making an attempt to painting Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as an extremist on problems with race and an apologist for youngster sexual abusers. Late Tuesday, Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, added one other social problem to the listing of cultural grievances the G.O.P. is foisting upon her in her confirmation hearings: gender — particularly, what makes a girl a girl.
Transgender rights are dominating outrage on the appropriate, after the Republican governors of Indiana and Utah vetoed bans on the participation of transgender girls in girls’s sports activities in current days and a transgender swimmer, Lia Thomas, received a collegiate swimming championship.
Ms. Blackburn introduced that swimmer up late Tuesday as Judge Jackson’s first day of questioning was coming to an in depth, then requested, “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?”
As she and different judicial nominees earlier than her have performed recurrently, Judge Jackson dodged the query as outdoors of her position on the bench, saying, “I’m not a biologist.”
But Ms. Blackburn pressed the purpose — and the hot-button problem.
“The fact that you can’t give me a straight answer about something as fundamental as what a woman is underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about,” she mentioned. “Just last week, an entire generation of young girls watched as our taxpayer-funded institutions permitted a biological man to compete and be a biological woman in the N.C.A.A. swimming championships. What message do you think this sends to girls who aspire to compete and win in sports at the highest levels?”
Social points which are animating Republican voters, notably problems with race, are additionally dominating Republican questioning of Judge Jackson, the primary Black girl to be put ahead for the Supreme Court. Ms. Blackburn’s insertion of gender into the hearings was not related to any specific case coming earlier than the Supreme Court, or determined by the excessive court docket in recent times, as is custom at such hearings. A dialogue of stare decisis this was not.
But it was related to the politics of the looming midterm elections. At 11 p.m. Tuesday evening, the senator’s workplace blasted out an e mail with the headline, “BREAKING: Judge Jackson Cannot Define The Word ‘Woman.’”
As they did all day on Tuesday, operatives on the Republican National Committee grabbed on to the newest line of social assault on Wednesday morning to amplify Ms. Blackburn’s message.