MATTHEWS: Does Ketanji Brown Jackson really need a biologist to define what “woman” means?

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson looks down during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

I have to admit that one thing I wasn’t expecting out of the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson last week was her inability — or unwillingness — to define what the word “woman” means. 

The moment occurred during an exchange with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) who was pressing Judge Jackson — who is President Joe Biden’s nominee to replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer — for her thoughts on various issues surrounding the transgenderism debate. 


“Do you agree with [the late Supreme Court] Justice Ginsburg that there are physical differences between men and women that are enduring?” Blackburn inquired of Jackson. 

The judge responded by saying that she was “not familiar with that particular quote or case, so it’s hard for me to comment.” 

Blackburn continued this line of questioning. 

“Do you interpret Justice Ginsburg’s meaning of ‘men’ and ‘women’ as ‘male’ and ‘female’?” 

“Again, because I don’t know the case, I don’t know how I’d interpret it,” Jackson told her. “I’d need to read the whole thing.” 

“Okay,” Blackburn answered. “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?” 

“Can I provide a definition? No. I can’t.” 

“You can’t?” Blackburn responded. 

“Not in this context,” Jackson claimed. “I’m not a biologist.” 

One had to think from listening to Jackson’s answer that feminists from the early days who fought for the right to vote and for a seat at the table to be treated as equal to men would be rolling around in their graves.  

I mean, here’s a woman who is in line to be the first black woman to sit on the Supreme Court and who will no doubt be deciding cases involving women’s and transgender rights saying she couldn’t define what a woman was because she wasn’t a biologist. 

Like many others, I was stunned at her answer. I mean biologists determined what a “woman” was a long, long time ago, so there is no need to consult one, though perhaps in light of her answer perhaps Jackson should for further clarification. 

In fact, we don’t even have to ask a biologist. We can just look to Merriam-Webster, which defines “female” as “of, relating to, or being the sex that typically has the capacity to bear young or produce eggs.” In other words, a woman is someone who is born with lady parts and who can give birth. 

Deep down, Jackson undoubtedly knows this. Every woman who was born a woman who is currently walking the face of the earth knows this. But instead of giving a direct answer, Jackson chose the “woke” way out.  In the process, her answer told us everything we need to know about her and whether or not she’s fit to serve on the Supreme Court. 

She isn’t, quite frankly, for the simple fact of the matter that no one — man or woman — belongs on the Supreme Court who can’t answer the fundamental question of “what is a woman?”  

This is not just because the definition is more than clear despite what “woke” progressives would like you to think, but also because of the decades upon decades of battles fought and won by First Wave feminists for women to be taken seriously and respected for their contributions to society, no matter what form those contributions took. 

Hard-fought-for women’s rights as we know them will be a thing of the past if “woke” Democrats continue unfettered on the dangerous gender identity politics trajectory they’re on. The last thing women need is a woman on the highest court in our land who despite her liberal political background doesn’t intuitively understand that with every fiber of her being. 

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.