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TN Politics: Republicans Focus on Critical Race Theory in Confirmation Hearing

U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn has questioned whether the Supreme Court oversteps its authority by expanding human rights not specifically granted in the US Constitution. She recently criticized a 1960s court ruling that guarantees access to contraceptives in states that would ban their use. Another lawmaker from Indiana said interracial marriage should have been left up to individual states.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson faced questions over her support of Critical Race Theory, which has become a top talking point of Republicans ahead of the midterm elections.

Critical Race Theory — an academic concept used primarily in some law schools to examine systemic racism — has become a Republican talking point in the past two years. In Tennessee, lawmakers have — with only anecdotal evidence — suggested school teachers are shaming white children into believing they are racists. There is also little evidence that Critical Race Theory is being taught in public K-12 schools, though that did not stop the Republican state legislature from banning it. Some white parents in Tennessee have unsuccessfully tried to ban Black history — such as the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — from being taught in schools altogether.

Now, Republicans are stoking fears of Critical Race Theory on a national level.

Political analyst Otis Sanford says lawmakers are pandering to a rural, white voting base that simply doesn't want to have conversations about race with children who are learning about American history in school.

In addition, Marsha Blackburn and other Republicans have recently questioned whether some Supreme Court decisions — such as those that guaranteed married couples access to birth control, or legalized interracial marriage — should have been left up to states to decide.