Supporters of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson are celebrating her historic confirmation as the first black woman on the Supreme Court. But like the new justice, they are tight-lipped about what it means to be a woman.
The Washington Free Beacon surveyed seven major pro-Democratic women's groups to see if they could provide a definition of the term "woman"—a word that Jackson said she was unable to define during her confirmation hearings because she is "not a biologist."
The National Organization for Women, the League of Women Voters, the Global Fund for Women, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, UN Women, and the Center for Reproductive Rights all declined to provide a definition. Despite being unwilling to define the term, several of the groups immediately published statements praising Jackson's historic confirmation as the "first Black woman" to the Supreme Court on Thursday.
The National Organization for Women said it was "so proud that for the first time in 232 years, a Black woman will finally sit in one of the most powerful judicial seats in the world." The group did not say how it determined the gender of previous judges.
Planned Parenthood for America called it a "historic moment more than 230 years in the making—Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first ever Black woman to become a justice on the nation's highest court!"
The League of Women Voters said that it "welcomes Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to her historic confirmation to be the next Supreme Court justice. Judge Jackson is the first Black woman to hold a seat on the high court."
The women's groups' inability to define "woman" is a striking shift for Democrats, who just last year were applauding President Joe Biden's pledge to appoint the first black woman to the Supreme Court. While dictionaries define "woman" as an "adult female person," progressive activists have pushed for an expanded interpretation of the word to include other gender identities. Many Democrats have avoided defining the term, claiming it is "complicated" and riddled with "uncertainty."
Some Democratic leaders have even been reluctant to use the word "woman," referring instead to "birthing people" and "menstruating persons." Biden also took steps to avoid gendered language this week, referring to a congressman as "one of our—how can I say it—our congresspersons."
"Scientists agree there is no sufficient way to clearly define what makes someone a woman, and with billions of women on the planet, there is much variation," reported USA Today.
Multiple Biden administration agencies—including the Department of Justice, Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development—also declined to provide a definition of "woman" when asked by Fox News this week.
Republicans, in contrast, have been more willing to provide a definition of the word, according to the Huffington Post.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) said a woman is someone with "Two X chromosomes," while Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) said a woman is "an adult female of the human species."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said a woman is someone who is "biologically" female, and noted the "birds and the bees stuff―it's been a while, but I think I remember the general gist of the differences."