Skip to content
What is a woman?  GOP senators stumble over their own question to Ketanji Brown Jackson


WASHINGTON — Republicans mocked Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson last month for refusing to define the word “woman” during her Senate confirmation hearing.

But it turns out those same Republicans on the Judiciary Committee disagree on how to define a woman, and some were unwilling — or unable — to give a definition when HuffPost asked Tuesday.

“I have nothing for you on that,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.).

“I’m not going to make you happy,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) dodged the question three times in a row, citing her policy of not speaking to reporters in the halls of the Senate — even though it was Blackburn who first made it an issue with Jackson location.

Thirteen hours into Jackson’s first day of court last month, the Tennessee Republican popped the question, “Can you define the word ‘woman’?”

“Can I give a definition? Jackson said, looking confused. ” No I can not. I am not a biologist.

After some back and forth, Blackburn concluded: “The fact that you can’t give me a straight answer on something as basic as what a woman is underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education we hear about. .”

The next day, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also lashed out at Jackson, telling him, “I think you’re the only Supreme Court nominee in history who hasn’t been able to answer the question ‘What is a woman?'”

The real purpose of Blackburn’s question was almost certainly to try to corner Jackson on the issue of transgender women participating in women’s sports – part of a broader, ugly GOP attack on LGBTQ people ahead of the 2022 election. Texas Governor Greg Abbott (right) is pushing for investigations into child abuse where children seek gender-affirming medical care. Florida’s new “Don’t Say Gay” law prevents teachers from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity to students younger than fourth grade. The Human Rights Campaign, on the other hand, follows over 300 anti-LGBTQ bills Across the country.

In a follow-up email to HuffPost, a Blackburn spokeswoman said her definition of a woman is “Two X chromosomes.”

The spokesperson did not respond to questions about whether Blackburn considers women born with only one X chromosome to be women, or if she considers men born with two X chromosomes to be women.

In a written statement, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) offered the same definition as Blackburn: “A woman is born with two X chromosomes.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary and the Britannica Dictionary define a woman as “an adult female person” and “an adult female human being”, respectively. Do senators agree with that?

“I have a more traditional view of what a woman is,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (RN.C.).

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) questions Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, March 22.

Alex Brandon via Associated Press

Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) said a woman is simply someone who is “biologically a woman”, adding that he thinks most Americans can determine who is a woman and who is a man .

“Birds and bees – it’s been a while, but I think I remember most of the differences,” Graham said. “Having a hard time answering that question is a little strange to me.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) shouted his definition of a woman before slipping into a Senate elevator: “A mature female of the human species.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was bolder than most.

“Someone who can give birth to a child, a mother, is a woman,” he said. “Someone who has a uterus is a woman. It doesn’t seem that complicated to me. »

So if a woman has her uterus removed with a hysterectomy, is she still a woman?

“Yeah. Well, I don’t know, do I?” He asked. (Yes.)

When asked again later if he would consider a woman still a woman if she lost her reproductive organs to cancer, Hawley replied, “I mean, a woman has a vagina, is not it?”

Cruz, when asked, immediately replied that a woman is “a grown human woman”.

He denied having recently looked it up in a dictionary.

“I happen to speak English,” Cruz said, adding, “A Homo sapien with two X chromosomes.”



Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.