Banter Bites

Highest Court. Lowest Bar?

When the road to the highest court in the land is littered with the lowest levels of behavior and respect …

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: The first black woman to be nominated as a Supreme Court justice is historic and should symbolize what America stands for, but watching the interviewing process concerns both of us, albeit for very different reasons.

As a lover of history, Red can’t help but focus on the past, when the U.S. Senate would put aside partisanship thoughts, look at the candidate’s experience, qualifications, and integrity, remembering that justices sit at the top of an independent branch of government. They voted on the person, not the party. (For example, out of 100 available votes, Antonin Scalia was confirmed in 1986 with 98, Anthony Kennedy in 1988 with 97, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993 with 96.)

It distresses her that the Republican members of the committee, instead of focusing on whether Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (KBJ) is qualified, seem more interested in trying to trip her up, using what Red see as “cheap tricks” (such as selectively discussing parts of a court case rather than providing the full context), all to make “points” for their side. Not to mention ignoring basic standards of decency, civility, and old-fashioned good manners. Things she instilled in her kids when they were still children,

I never thought I’d equate anything to do with the Supreme Court to being a mom, but if you wouldn’t let your five-year-old get away with that kind of behavior, should we let senators vetting a Supreme Court justice nominee act that way?!

Black, on the other hand, recognizes that mathematically KBJ has the appointment unless a Democrat votes “No” (which is highly unlikely). So, instead of grandstanding with an aggressively hostile (borderline toxic) partisan focus on mid-term election culture-war issues (not to mention “payback” for prior Republican nominee hearings and the blatant “I may run for higher office” campaign “speeches”), this was a wasted opportunity for a “reset” as the Senate could have created a historic bipartisan moment -- having a highly-qualified nominee become the first Black woman appointed to the highest court in the land.

And while Black believes that KBJ’s professional credentials, combined with her experience, which is different from the other justices, would bring a new and highly valuable perspective and insight to the Supreme Court (although it wouldn’t “overrule” the current dominance of conservative ideology), she also knows the value of the “soft skills” KBJ’s developed to deal with the challenges she’s faced her entire life,

Watching KBJ refusing to be drawn into a political fight and facing the harassment (from, dare I say it, white men) with poise and dignity made perfect sense because, as a Black woman, she has had to deal with that type of **it her entire life.

Two years ago, on MLK Day, Red learned the power and inspiration of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the power of dreams. And as long as there's social unrest and social injustice in the United States (stop and think about the first word … as we’re supposed to be united), the more we can learn from him … as not only did he fight for equality for all, but his approach is proof of the power of peaceful protests.

For most of us, writing and delivering one powerful and/or inspiring thing would be a very difficult task. To be remembered for hundreds is truly amazing.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: There's so much one can say about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968, and whose leadership was fundamental to the ending of legal segregation in many parts of the United States. But regardless of your position on segregation, it's almost impossible not to acknowledge, yet alone appreciate, how incredibly powerful and inspiring his words were and the impact they continue to have on the civil rights movement. But don't believe us. This goodreads post provides more than just a good read, it's a seemingly endless list of inspirational quotes while a great "refresher" course on Dr. King is available at

We grew up in New York, where bagels are almost sacred, but even though they may have started as a Jewish food in Europe, they’re now enjoyed by everyone everywhere (including Red and Black, but in very different ways) – why else would there be a National Bagel Day?

National holidays aren’t the time to count calories.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We both agree that happiness has a hole in it, although one of us may only eat one bagel a year while the other tries to keep it to only one bagel when she does indulge.

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Another year and another National Clean Your Desk Day (yes, that’s actually a thing). So, is Red’s desk any better than the “disaster” it was last year? Well, believe it or not, it may not be perfect, but it’s significantly better. Is it because she finally listened to Black’s advice (see below) or somehow found a “secret” of her own? As it turns out, it was a combination of the two as Red discovered, even if the rest of her life isn’t “nice and neat” (that’ll never happen), she loves walking into her workroom in the morning and starting the day in a (somewhat) organized space, which provides the best motivation for keeping it that way. (Luckily, Black never brought up the science of messy desks.)

A day to clean up your desk?! It will take way more than a day …

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: No one is immune from piles of paper, not even Black, the master of organization, but there’s a huge difference between a desk with a few small piles and some scattered papers (although her laptop’s keyboard needs serious cleaning) and Red’s “workroom” that usually looks like a tornado hit it.

Which is why Red rolled her eyes when Black mentioned today’s National Clean Your Desk Day, as it’d take her significantly more than a day to “clean up this mess,” but then she remembered Black’s advice on how to keep her piles (and piles) of paper under control and felt inspired. Red admits often feeling like she’s drowning in paper, but that’s because she lets the piles get out of control before reminding herself of Black’s very easy, straightforward approach to turning her mountains of paper into small manageable hills. And, significantly reducing stress along the way, because as Black points out,

Sometimes, it is more important to know what you are ignoring than it is to deal with everything in the piles.