Republican Representative Bob Good of Virginia has addressed a Democratic colleague as “Person Speaker” while claiming it was “out of respect” for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Good used the conspicuously gender-neutral term in reference to Representative Katie Porter of California, who was serving as House speaker pro tempore during a Thursday hearing on the Affordable Insulin Now Act, according to a C-SPAN video of the session. Republicans have repeatedly attacked Jackson for refusing Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee’s demand that she define the word “woman” while commenting that she was “not a biologist” during her Senate confirmation hearings last week.
“Thank you, Person Speaker,” Good told Porter on Thursday. “I say Person Speaker because I’m not a biologist, and out of respect to our Supreme Court nominee, I don’t feel qualified to say Madam Speaker.”
Good went on to speak in opposition to the bill, which would cap the price of insulin, which has skyrocketed for years, to $35 per month. Good warned that “Democrats are using insulin as the gateway to their dream of fully socialized medicine.”
Blackburn’s questioning of Jackson during the Senate confirmation hearings touched on multiple recently popular issues among Republicans, including critical race theory and “packing,” or expanding, the Supreme Court.
The Tennessee Republican’s demand that the judge “provide a definition for the word ‘woman,’” seemingly referring to issues of gender identity, was declined by Jackson, who said that she would not provide a definition “in this context.”
Republicans have become heavily focused on transgender issues, pushing a recent series of bills to ban transgender women and girls from participating in sports and criminalize gender-affirming medical treatment for transgender children at the state level.
The issue was brought up more than once during Jackson’s Senate hearings, with Republicans making unsuccessful attempts for the judge to weigh in on gender identity being distinct from biological sex and legal protections for transgender people.
“If I can change my gender, if I can be a woman and an hour later decide I’m not a woman anymore, I guess I would lose Article 3 standing?” Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz asked during the hearings. “Tell me whether that same law applies to other protected characteristics.”
“I’m a Hispanic man, could I decide if I was an Asian man?” he added. “Would I have the ability to be an Asian man and challenge Harvard’s discrimination because I made that decision?”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Jackson’s confirmation on Monday, with a final Senate vote likely to take place later next week. Jackson’s confirmation is all but guaranteed since every Democratic senator is expected to vote in her favor, while Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine has also announced her support.
Newsweek reached out to Porter’s office for comment.
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