I read with interest Victor Joecks’ Sunday column, “Biden’s female nominee can’t define ‘woman’. ” Mr. Joecks sarcastically points out that it is “too bad that Joe Biden forgot to tell Ketanji Brown Jackson what a woman is.”
When I graduated from medical school in 1973 — and through most of the years that I practiced medicine — the definition of a female was quite clear. Based on genetics, a female was defined biologically by having been born with two x chromosomes as opposed to a biologic male who had one x and one y chromosome. A woman was defined as an adult female.
While appearance may complicate matters of clearly defining gender, more recently issues regarding “gender versus gender identity have become points of discussion and litigation. Biologically, genetic syndromes, such as xxy males — e.g., Klinefelter’s Syndrome — complicate matters of definition. Furthermore, recent Title IX lawsuits regarding gender identity and athletic competitions have become increasingly more common. What was once a simple answer to a question — “What is a woman?” — has become more complex, controversial and contentious.
Based on the extremely broad issues that come before the Supreme Court, Judge Jackson would extensively research the topic before offering an opinion regarding the merits of any case, including one of gender identity. Mr. Joecks categorizes Judge Jackson’s response to Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s question as “absurd.” The question, however, is what the answer has to do with evaluating the candidacy of a clearly exceptional Supreme Court nominee.
Perhaps Judge Jackson could have more appropriately said the answer to this question is too complex in the time allotted. But questioning her candidacy based on her response seems extravagant and unnecessary.