Overqualified

Wow… so in the midst of war in the Ukraine, horrible tornados ravaging parts of the US, and inflation making everything from gas to food extraordinarily expensive, we are witnessing history being made… the nomination of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. It is historic. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is among the most highly qualified judges to ever be nominated to the highest court. Her qualifications are stellar. Yet the behavior of the primarily White male Senators on the right has been appalling, but unfortunately not shocking. Surprise Surprise!

They have gathered together in Donald Trump’s name to make this very important job interview, if you will, into a performance of sound bites for the 20 Republican Senate seats up for reelection in 2022. They clearly plan to make critical race theory, transgenderism, child pornography, abortion, and the topics of police and gun law reform the trends in these elections. So they have decided to play a game of dodgeball with the Judge, to try to both expose her as unqualified and to advance their policies. But this is not an underdog story and Judge Jackson is far from your average joe… she has clerked at every judicial level up to the Supreme Court, served as a Court of Appeals and District Court Judge, worked in private practice, and as a federal public defender, written for the Harvard Law Review, and worked on the sentencing commission. She is the hi-hat and these sad little men are the spoons… in that confirmation hearing room, their arms are indeed too short to box with this goddess.

She is OVERqualified… beyond, above, more than, plus, double it and add tax. Sis is a whole mood…

…she knows what these little men are doing. She can smell their cologne with base notes of fear and top notes of privilege, race-isms, and sex-isms. Yet she remains poised and patient. She says, “thank you Senator” at every turn, but never fails to school them on the limits, powers, scope, policy, and procedures of the judiciary, something she knows much better than they do. But she even manages to pull their Congressional card, letting them know what their duties entail and how they are, in fact, responsible for much of what they are attacking her for. She is a quintessential educated Black woman, more qualified, dignified, and certified than these men she will soon outrank, outearn, and at EVERY turn outdo. They only like their little women “in the kitchen or the bedroom Florida”, but Judge Jackson commands rooms… confirmations to courts. Recognize. This is not Little Women, this is Big Bosses.

She is us and we are her. I know a myriad of amazingly successful Black women engineers, doctors, PR professionals, superintendents, lawyers, teachers, professors, nurses, directors, VPs, and judges who know all too well the unbearably uncomfortable stench of racism staring back at them through beady pupils void of all humanity, with thin persed lips that let nigger slip between them freely in White spaces, and let microaggressions pour onto the floor covering our feet so they are hard to lift. We also know, because we are stars, just like Cory Booker said of Judge Jackson, that we are singlehandedly the harbingers of hope that America will ever be as great as all proclaim. For if we are still the most disrespected, underpaid, and ignored people in America… when we are among the most educated and most entreprenuerial … things White men have been heralded for for centuries, then America has not fulfilled its promise. It indeed has not, but we won’t stop busting ceilings and busting heads until it does. Gang gang.

Being overqualified in a sea of mediocrity is not new for Black women. While we were keeping weak ass, fainting ass Missy from passing out in her corset by sneaking her tea cookies, we wear waist trainers under our suits to work like fucking what waist bosses! When we nursed lily White babies and kept them free from consumption, smallpox, and whatever was killing off White folks, our bodies kept enough magical milk to feed the babies we grew in our own bodies, often sister or brother to the baby who drank first. When we walked the halls of the first integrated schools while being harassed and assaulted, we fixed our starched shirts and perfectly pleated skirts, before tapping our curls into place to go learn and excel in spaces we weren’t wanted but knew we needed to show our faces in, so our own children would walk those halls like they owned them. And when Althea Gibson, Patricia Harris, Mae Jemison,Constance Baker Motley, Shirley Chisholm, Cathay Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Phillis Wheatley, and, Kamala Harris all became the first Black woman to reach some magnificent point of excellence, once only allowed to wealthy and powerful White men, through dedication and hard work instead of the typical privileged and nepotistic means… a way was made for this moment. This is what we do… cause lovely chaos.

So how fitting, as Black women and our allies all gather together in Ketanji’s Onyika’s name, which mean’s “lovely one”. We recognize the magnitude of Judge Jackson’s nomination and coming confirmation to the highest court in our nation, where women have gained rights and liberties once denied to us. We also join in her celebration… as this moment, like all of our biggest moments, are shared with our sisters. She is the dream and hope of our ancestors, who with us, have her back. And we feel the same way sweet Laila…who is seen below looking at her mom with the sweetest admiration, joy, and pride… your mother is our hero too! Overqualified personified!

Black women… never be afraid to be your best and bravest self… our daughters are watching!

I Dissent

I write legal decisions for a living. I am a 2002 graduate from Wayne State University Law School where constitutional law became my law of choice. In light of that, I always loved Justice Antonin Scalia, despite most often not agreeing with him, but being in awe of his masterfully and magically written decisions that often read like fine poetry without the meter. I particularly loved the dance he and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg did in written word. Her dissents often unwrapped his words like they were fine chocolate not to be broken or marred, but then suddenly devoured once naked. His would seem to ooze vitriol, throwing hot lava on her cool simplicity. They were an interesting pair. But she was something special. She was smart and calculated in how she highlighted sex discrimination in her career, and how she promoted humanity and equity through her court decisions. Her brand of female liberalism was injected with a passion to expose and end sexism and see women’s rights championed and not kicked and trampled over by a court full of men. If a pen was a choppa, she “kicked in the door waving the .44.” She was notorious indeed!

My absolute favorite decision of hers is her dissent in Bush v. Gore. In the 2000 Florida recount case , y’all remember the hanging and dangling chads, she stated … “The extraordinary setting of this case has obscured the ordinary principle that dictates its proper resolution: Federal courts defer to state high courts’ interpretations of their state’s own law. This principle reflects the core of federalism, on which all agree.” Her dissent was a masterclass in tearing down a clearly conservatives court overlooking of the law to further political gain. Her use of previous SC decisions on federalism was a clinic in jurisprudence! And in GRAND and SAVAGE fashion, she ended her opinion with only, “I DISSENT!” The traditional “respectfully” left off the end. A veritable “Beef is when I see you” to the foolish decision of the majority. She was notorious indeed.

And in this day of her death, we mourn her, but mostly we should honor her. On her deathbed she proclaimed:

A statement that was inspired by Mitch McConnell’s blocking of President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court during the 2016 election. Invoking the so called “Biden Rule”, the Senate refused to hold confirmation hearings until the election was over after Justice Scalia’s death. So because what’s good for the goose is absolutely sometimes good for the gander and McConnell is a BAN… she demanded the same. ON HER DEATHBED yo! Not for herself but for the country she loved. Another confirmation by the incumbent will result in a highly conservative and frankly MAGA minded court that will tear down the social justices that have happened in America since the early twentieth century. Race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, abortion rights will see fates that will forever change our country, moving it back to the Jim Crow era. RBG was an equal rights advocate and knew the damage that could come from a Trump confirmation. She was “all purpose war” on her hospice bed… she was notorious indeed.

So ladies, let’s be like RBG. Let’s dissent… respectability be damned. We must put on our jeweled bib, our fishnet gloves, a cute lippie, and pearl earrings and loudly dissent with passion, savagery, and no apologies. Let’s allow no one, despite how long their reach, to pluck our star from the heavens! Let’s be steadfast in standing up in our beliefs and our purpose with passion and urgency! Let’s be diligent in voting for OUR OWN interests and not those of our father’s, brother’s, and husband’s… because our vote was hard fought by feminists and activists from every walk of life, some to the death. Let’s always remember we are the life force! We hold within ourselves the cypher of life… we are to be honored and respected at all times and at all costs. And when we are not, we should don our crowns and let these patriarchs know that if they don’t take us serious, no holds are barred, and well “Fuck around, shit get dark to him…”

Now go forth and be notorious!

Rest in Power Super Diva!