February 21, 2024

Louisiana Senator John Kennedy resurrected the Red Scare on Thursday, reminding everyone that McCarthyism never really died—just fell into a bit of a coma.

Republican lawmakers spent the better part of a Senate Judiciary hearing grilling Biden judicial nominee Melissa Dubose, but few more than Kennedy, who outright demanded to know if she was “still a Marxist.”

“I am not, nor have ever been, a Marxist,” replied DuBose.

But Kennedy wasn’t satisfied with that, instead citing a 2000 interview she gave to the “feminist press,” Women’s Studies Quarterly, in which she told the interviewer that shortly after graduating Providence College, she began working at Little Connie’s, a local coffee shop, where she said students from a private, progressive highschool had her “in a Marxist phase.”

“I had no idea that that interview was something that was going to be published,” DuBose said. “When I graduated from college, I immersed myself in a ton of political theory. I read Hobbes, I read Locke, I read Rousseau, I read Marx. I went through a phase where I was into Eastern religion—where I read the Tao Te Ching and the Analects of Confucius.”

“So, I suspect, and I don’t know that the quote in the article, I don’t know if she was referring to what I was studying at the time, but as a political science major and as a theorist, and as someone who was considering teaching a course in political theory, I had immersed myself,” she continued.

But Kennedy persisted.

“You didn’t say ‘I’m in my Hobbesian phase,’” he continued. “You didn’t say ‘I’m in my Rousseau phase,’ you said, ‘I was in my Marxist phase.’”

Senator Dick Durbin, however, was nonplussed by the line of attack, brushing it off as a routine element of judiciary hearings.

“That is a frequent question,” the Judiciary Committee chair said to reporters after the hearing, according to Courthouse News Service. “If someone said something in college, or even high school, that mentioned Marx in any context—or even alluded to Marxism —they are bound to be questioned by this committee.”