Chris Hayes calls SCOTUS nominee hearing ‘facially racist,' compares GOP senators to 'vile, southern racists'

Hayes likens Sens. Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to the 'vile, southern' racist Democrats who queried Thurgood Marshall

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MSNBC host Chris Hayes said Wednesday that "much of the questioning" Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has undergone at her confirmation hearings has been "facially racist."

"The hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman ever nominated to the Supreme Court in over 200 years of this country’s history, [have] been stomach-churning," he said. "We knew going in that her race and gender would be an issue for some Republicans. But I have to say, I have been taken aback by the facially racist nature of much of the questioning Judge Jackson faced. And I say racist because there is no other way to accurately describe it."

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Hayes said questions at Tuesday's confirmation hearing "assumed she was soft on crime or sympathetic to criminals or maybe even likes crime."

"And the only reason I could determine is that it plays into the assumption that a Black person is inherently associated with criminality in some way, which is, of course, racist - one of the oldest, most pernicious and dangerous racist tropes in America," he said. 

Hayes reported that Jackson was asked "multiple times" to disavow critical race theory and the 1619 Project and framed those ideologies as the "views of other Black public intellectuals- just other people [who] also happen to be Black who have ideas about the country."

The MSNBC host went on to compare Republican Sens. Tom Cotton, Ark., Ted Cruz, Texas, and Josh Hawley's, Mo., questions to "the racist barrel-scraping of the senators of the 1960s" practiced by Democrats who queried then-Supreme Court nominee Thurgood Marshall at his confirmation hearing.

Democratic Sens. James Eastland and John McClellan were "two vile, southern racists" who "teamed up to derail Marshall’s nomination with exactly the same kind of racist questioning that presupposes that a Black judge is soft on crime," he continued. 

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Hayes remarked, "I think – or honestly, at least I hope – that future generations will be able to look back on [the GOP senators'] behavior during Jackson’s confirmation, just as we are able to look back on the racist barrel-scraping of the senators of the 1960s." 

The progressive MSNBC host said the senators will end up being only remembered as "embarrassing footnotes."