Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was accused of engaging in a "hate crime" on Tuesday after he questioned Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson about critical race theory.
What is the background?
During Jackson's Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Cruz pressed Jackson about her position on CRT, a legal framework that analyzes the intersection of race and the criminal justice system.
Cruz questioned Jackson about previous speeches she gave and about the curriculum at Georgetown Day School (where Jackson sits on the board), which Cruz described as "filled and overflowing with critical race theory."
Regarding the speeches, Jackson said she was referred to CRT when referring a plethora of legal theories and practices, and regarding the curriculum, Jackson said she has no control over what is taught at Georgetown Day School.
Who accused Cruz of a hate crime?
During an appearance on MSNBC, Democratic strategist Chai Komanduri said watching Cruz's questioning was akin to witnessing a "hate crime."
"This is about [Jackson] being a black woman, and this is about basically casting her as a radical, as a black radical who is out to get white people. That is specifically what they are trying to do," Komanduri said.
"It's really ugly. Quite frankly, it looked like I saw Ted Cruz commit a hate crime, in that hearing room," Komanduri added. "It was McCarthyism at its worst."
According to Komanduri, who worked for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaigns in 2008, Cruz was seeking to stir up racial animosity against Jackson.
"He wants to gin up white grievance, him and Marsha Blackburn— the GOP want to gin up white grievance, ahead of the midterm and link Judge Jackson to that cause. It’s really, frankly, was disgusting and ugly to watch," he said.
Ted Cruz’s Rhetorical 'Hate Crime': Obama Vet Condemns Race Questions For Judge Jackson www.youtube.com
The Republican National Committee's attempts to paint Jackson as a proponent of critical race theory also generated accusations of racism.
In response to an RNC tweet that crossed out Jackson's initials — replacing KBJ with CRT — Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said the GOP had engaged in a "racial attack."
"Shameful! Whoever or whatever provoked this racial attack should be exposed for their divisive wrong-headed attack!" the lawmaker said. "Judge Brown-Jackson believes in equal justice in America! She is a Patriot who loves this country! Stop this racial attack! Now! Enough is Enough! GOP starting up their meritless smears!!"