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Dr. Jill Biden, doctorate
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WA Supreme Court justice defends Dr. Jill Biden’s use of ‘doctor’ honorific

Dr. Jill Biden (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

After a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticized Dr. Jill Biden’s use of the “doctor” honorific, Washington State Supreme Court Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis took to Twitter to defend the soon-to-be-First Lady.

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Dr. Biden acquired her doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007, and has been referred to with that honorific ever since. Columnist Joseph Epstein took issue with that in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published on Dec. 11, referring to her as “kiddo,” and arguing that “no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child.”

“’Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic,” Epstein wrote. “Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title ‘Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.'”

In Washington, Justice Montoya Lewis spoke to her own experiences in defense of Dr. Biden.

“I’ve been a judge for 20 years and a justice for almost one. For my entire career, in professional situations, people have called me Raquel when talking to me or when talking about me. I started paying close attention a few years ago,” she tweeted. “My male colleagues were very rarely referred to by their first name, though I sometimes heard them say, ‘please call me…’ and invite first names.”

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“These honorifics like Dr., Judge, Justice matter,” she continued. “They are earned. They respect the person and the profession. I’ve been called ‘kiddo’ my entire career as well. I’ve had lawyers touch my hair, my lower back, and refer to me informally in formal situations while recognizing my professionalism and skill. [Dr. Jill Biden] is a Dr. The End.”

In the days since the op-ed was published, many other prominent figures have levied criticism against Epstein, including former First Lady Michelle Obama, who pointed out her own experience seeing women “doubted by those who choose the weakness of ridicule over the strength of respect.”

The Journal’s opinion editor, Paul Gigot, has in turn defended Epstein’s column, alleging that President-elect Joe Biden orchestrated a coordinated smear campaign “to use the big gun of identity politics to send a message to critics as [the Biden administration] prepares to take power.”

“There’s nothing like playing the race or gender card to stifle criticism,” Gigot said.

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