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Ketanji Brown Jackson did define ‘woman’ at her confirmation hearing

Over the four days of the Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearing, I saw the patience of a woman who knew that impatience was not an option. She saw the fatigue of a woman who knew she shouldn’t get tired. I saw the nifty of a woman who knew what was judged by her decision and judged herself harshly-perhaps even more rigorously than many senators.

I was asked to define the meaning of this woman being a woman and I saw her answer that she couldn’t.

If you miss a replacement, can it start with Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, and provide a definition for the word “female”? I asked. When she asked Jackson about a transgender athlete.

“Can you provide a definition? No, you can’t,” Jackson replied.

It was clear what Blackburn wanted an answer: something chromosome. Related to the uterus or double X or estrogen-don’t worry about millions of women who don’t fit these definitions (after menopause, after hysterectomy, living with infertility or Turner syndrome). Or maybe what Blackburn wanted was exactly what she got. Jackson refused to answer so that conservative groups could use it as a political feed.

Looking at Jackson in this exchange reminded me of Supreme Court judge Potter Stewart. Potter Stewart refused to provide the definition of pornography in 1964. “Maybe I couldn’t succeed in doing so in an understandable way,” Potter said. “But when I see it, I know it.”

The Ketanji Brown Jackson hearing was four days defining the meaning of being a woman. And I don’t know one woman who couldn’t see it-Sith or Trance.

She defined what it means to be a woman every time she sits with a gentle smile through the accusations that she is tolerant of child pornography or that she was paid by “dark money.” A gentle smile is a feminine armor and expectation. “For unqualified women who must remain calm, friendly, knowledgeable and professional in front of unqualified men,” wrote one online worshiper of Jackson. “Lord, listen to our prayers in your mercy.”

She defined the meaning of being a woman when she talked about the impossible balancing act of work and motherhood. “I fully admit that I wasn’t always balanced,” Jackson said, an almost male senator who probably never felt the pressure to make bake sale cupcakes at dawn before hearing an important incident. I told her daughter in the room.

She defined the meaning of women, especially black women. In the time it took to find a response to Senator Ted Cruz of R-Texas over a long period of time, “Do you agree … is your baby a racist?” He said. I was exhibiting pictures of books for children. She was measuring her words in front of the man who had her future in her hands. Even if he said something unpleasant, she seemed to try not to offend him.

Senator Cory Booker, DN.J. After her heartfelt compliment from her, she was a woman when she gently tapped her eyes. -“You are here, and I know what you need to sit in that seat”-and perhaps whether her tears are considered too emotional for a Supreme Court judge I was wondering. Too emotional in the wrong way. Feminine way.

At Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, I remembered the moment when a skilled black woman who was a member of the committee, not a candidate, was involved. Ask Kavanaugh about the topic of abortion, then-Sen. Kamala D. Harris asked, “Can you come up with a law that empowers the government to make decisions about the male body?”

“I’m not. Senator, I’m not thinking about anything right now,” Kavanaugh replied with a slight stutter.

Perhaps Harris was trying to do what Blackburn later tried to do at Jackson’s hearing. In the hope that she would earn political points, she stumbled upon the candidate she disapproved.

Or maybe Harris simply knew that Jackson seemed to know later. The act of being a woman is often less related to biology than how to move around the world and see or worry along the way. How people treat you. Respect you have been given or denied. Knowledge you have or don’t think you have. A law that allows you to regulate the most intimate parts of your body.

For some people, the definition of being a woman may feel immutable and fixed. This is limited to the genetic makeup or reproductive organs that have at birth. Our others remind us of our femininity as we step into the world every day and provide ourselves for judgment.

Later in the hearing, Cruz returned to work trying to get Jackson to define a woman. “I think you’re the only Supreme Court candidate in history who couldn’t answer your question,” he said. As if defining gender was part of the Supreme Court’s application centuries ago.

The judge again refused to answer the question from a biological point of view. Instead, she answered honestly: “I know I’m a woman,” she said. And any woman looking at her would have known it.

The views expressed here are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broader perspective.Email to submit your work for consideration Commentary (at) Posts less than 200 words Also Click here to send via a web browser..Read the complete guidelines for letters and commentary here..

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