Sen. Marsha Blackburn accused Ketanji Brown Jackson of supporting 'progressive indoctrination' of children and having ties to a school that teaches kindergarteners about 'white privilege' and choosing their gender

Sen. Marsha Blackburn accused Ketanji Brown Jackson of supporting 'progressive indoctrination' of children and having ties to a school that teaches kindergarteners about 'white privilege' and choosing their gender
Sen. Marsha Blackburn speaks during a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on March 21, 2022 in Washington, DC.J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images
  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn touched on a host of culture-war issues during Jackson's confirmation hearing.
  • She accused the Supreme Court nominee of supporting the "progressive indoctrination of our children."

Sen. Marsha Blackburn's opening statement at Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court confirmation hearing offered a full menu of culture-war issues that have been playing out in recent GOP politics and will be on the ballot in 2022. Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, accused Jackson of supporting the "progressive indoctrination" of children and questioned whether critical race theory is Jackson's "personal hidden agenda."

"You serve on the board of a school that teaches kindergarteners — 5-year-old children — that they can choose their gender and teaches them about so-called white privilege," Blackburn said at the hearing. "This school has hosted an organization called 'Woke Kindergarten' and pushes an anti-racist education program for white families. Your public endorsement of this type of progressive indoctrination of our children causes one great concern when it comes to how you may rule on cases involving parental rights."

Blackburn did not cite the name of the school. Jackson is a trustee at Georgetown Day School, the first integrated school in Washington, DC, with students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Blackburn said she wants to delve further into the issue of parental rights, a key topic for Republicans, during the hearings. "Moms and dads are very concerned about this progressive agenda that is being pushed in some of our public schools," she said.

Blackburn said she needs clarity, "at a time when these parental rights appear to be under assault," about Jackson's public comments about the "transformative power of progressive education," calling them "deeply concerning."


Blackburn added that parents are concerned about more mask mandates and lockdowns from "the next pandemic" and they need a Supreme Court justice who will protect families' freedoms.

She said female athletes are being treated like "second-class citizens" and that transgender females, whom she called "biological males," are stealing opportunities in sports. Attacks on transgender rights have become a key issue for conservatives, including attempts to restrict their participation in sports.

Blackburn said Jackson once wrote that every judge has a personal hidden agenda, and questioned what agenda Jackson's is. She said Jackson has made clear that judges in sentencing must consider critical race theory, a framework for studying racism in US laws and institutions.

The conservative news site, Daily Wire, recently highlighted a 2015 lecture on federal prison sentencing guidelines, in which Jackson said sentencing "is just plain interesting on an intellectual level" because it melds myriad types of law, including critical race theory.

"Is it your personal hidden agenda to incorporate critical race theory into our legal system?" Blackburn asked. "These are answers that the American people need to know. So we are going to look at past statements and decisions and seek clarification from this committee before we make our decisions."


Jackson did not have the opportunity to respond to individual senators on Monday, the first day of her confirmation hearings. The hearings will continue through Thursday at the Senate Judiciary Committee where she'll eventually have to respond to questions about her record and positions.