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Tom Cotton says Judge Jackson ‘would have defended Nazis’, Internet slams ‘pathetic liar’

Arkansas Senator causes massive uproar after claiming Ketanji Brown Jackson would have defended Nazis at Nuremberg in viral speech from the Senate
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) and Senator Tom Cotton (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) and Senator Tom Cotton (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

The furious battle over Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation continued to dominate American politics on April 6, 2022. As the Senate was debating her candidacy, Sen. Tom Cotton decided to use his time to make a truly incendiary statement - that the judge would have defended Nazis at Nuremberg. The shocking claim is just the latest conspiracy theory Republicans have created to further block the Democrats' agenda.

This isn't the first time Cotton's comments have earned him the ire of the internet. In July 2020, he caused an uproar by saying "the founding fathers viewed slavery as a necessary evil." Then in November 2020, he took a shot at the 1619 Project, saying it "erased" the anniversary of the pilgrims landing in the US. During the massive Black Lives Matter protests that summer, he also dubbed protestors "Antifa terrorists", and called for military force to be used against them. 


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A staunch Trump ally, Cotton has a long history of incendiary comments, which have made him a key target for liberals. That fury continued after he weighed in on Judge Ketanji Jackson's nomination, with a truly bizarre take. 

'Jackson would have defended Nazis'

Republican criticism of Jackson's sentencing record was widely expected, but Cotton's shocking comparison came completely out of the blue. "The last Judge Jackson left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and prosecute the case against the Nazis," he said, referring to Justice Robert H Jackson who was the chief counsel for the prosecution of the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials. Cotton then added, "This Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them."


As if that wasn't controversial enough, he then went on to claim Jackson would "coddle criminals and terrorists, and she will twist or ignore the law to reach the result that she wants." Despite those bombastic claims, Cotton may not have done enough to block Jackson's nomination. All 50 Democrats, including Joe Manchin, are expected to vote to confirm Jackson. Three Republicans -  Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins - have also announced they will support her nomination, meaning it should pass the Senate. 

The rare sign of bipartisan support will make Jackson the first Black woman on the court, and the first with significant criminal defense experience since Justice Thurgood Marshall. Before that happens though, Cotton's comments need to be digested. 

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill on March 25, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

'Reprehensible doesn’t begin to describe this moment'

Social media was clearly furious, with users commenting things like "Just disgusting. Honestly, every time I think Tom Cotton can’t go lower he finds a new way to be a pathetic liar." Another slammed, "We’re witnessing a marathon of who is the most awful racist man in the GOP but Tom Cotton is gonna cross the finish line." A third slammed, "Tom Cotton, a Senator who once called slavery a “necessary evil” and constantly plays to a white nationalist base, baselessly says the incoming first Black woman Supreme Court Justice might have defended Nazis. Reprehensible doesn’t begin to describe this moment."




"My incredibly low expectations for Tom Cotton are apparently still too damn high," one user trolled. The Anti-Defamation League tweeted, "Absolutely shameful conduct from @SenTomCotton. To use a Nazi analogy as some sort of twisted way to attack Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is reprehensible. We've said it a thousand times and we'll say it again: stop trivializing the Holocaust for political gainTom Cotton says Judge Jackson ‘would have defended Nazis’, net slams ‘pathetic liar’." One person commented, "Tom Cotton: always playing catch-up to Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz in the "most despicable Senate Republican" competition, and then overcompensating." Another angry person tweeted, "Tom Cotton surmised that Judge Jackson would have defended Nazis at Nuremberg. They cannot attack her impeccable personal behavior so they make shit up. @SenSchumer it is time to start censuring this deplorable behavior."