Sen. Marsha Blackburn Asks SCOTUS Nominee to Define ‘Woman’

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) brought the issue of gender identity to the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson late Tuesday night when she asked Jackson to define the word ‘woman.’

Transgender rights are in the spotlight lately as 11 states have legislated bans on trans girls participating in school sports that align with their gender identity. At the same time, two Republican governors this week (Indiana and Utah) have vetoed such legislation.

Blackburn began by noting the recent win by trans swimmer Lia Thomas, who won a NCAA swimming championship recent.

From the New York Times:

Ms. Blackburn brought that swimmer up late Tuesday as Judge Jackson’s first day of questioning was coming to a close, then asked, “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?”

As she and other judicial nominees before her have done regularly, Judge Jackson dodged the question as outside of her role on the bench, saying, “I’m not a biologist.”

But Ms. Blackburn pressed the point — and the hot-button issue.

“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 said. “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?”

As the Times points out, Blackburn’s question regarding gender identity was not connected to any particular case coming before the Supreme Court, or decided by the high court in recent years.