Jackson defends record, despite GOP critics

Senators asked Ketanji Brown, Supreme Court nominee for the Supreme Court, questions that were new to her.

Jackson defends record, despite GOP critics

She defended her record as federal judge on Tuesday and stated she would rule "from neutrality" if confirmed as the first Black woman to the court.

Jackson replied to Republicans, who questioned about her judicial philosophy. She stated that she relies on the words in a statute, but she also considers history and practice when it is unclear.

She also rejected Republican suggestions that her light sentences had been given to child pornographers.

Are her decisions a danger to children? She said that she was a judge and mother, but nothing could be further from reality.

She described looking into defendants' eyes and explaining the long-lasting effects on victims. She stated that it was "important to me to ensure that the voices of children are heard."

After Jackson's Monday opening statements, Tuesday's hearing was the first in a series of two days of questioning. The 22 members of Jackson's panel also gave opening statements on Monday. Before the eventual vote to send her nomination to the Senate, the committee will hear from legal professionals on Thursday.

If nothing unexpected happens, Democrats, who hold the Senate by the smallest of margins, hope to confirm Jackson before Easter. However, Breyer will not be leaving the court until the end of the current session.

Dick Durbin (D-Ill. Judiciary Committee Chairman) described Jackson's "trial by ordeal" as Jackson answered questions straight away that tried to deflect GOP concerns. They also highlighted Jackson's empathic style when she handed down sentences. Republicans intended to use Jackson's questioning to paint Jackson (and Democrats in general) as soft on crime. This is a growing theme in GOP midterm elections.

Jackson explained to the committee that her uncle and brother were police officers. Jackson also said that crime and its effect on the community and the need to enforce the law are not abstract concepts or political slogans.

She also supported work she did 15 years ago, as a public defense attorney and later in private law representing four Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Jackson has been accused of defending terrorists by some Republicans. However, she said that defenders do not pick their clients and that they are "standing up to the constitutional value" of representation. She also stated that she continued to represent one client in private law because she was assigned that case.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham asked her questions. He voted for her confirmation last year as an appeals court judge, but has publicly expressed frustration at President Joe Biden's choice of her over a South Carolina judge. Graham asked her about her religion and whether she attends church. He made emotional remarks about Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholicism, which he thought was unfair, before confirming her 2020 nomination.

Jackson, who thanked God and stated that her faith "sustains" her at the moment, responded that she is a Protestant. Jackson said that she was hesitant to discuss her faith because she "want the public to be able to trust in my ability to separate my personal views."

Democrats are full of praises for Biden's Supreme Court nomination, noting that she would be not only the first Black woman on the court but also the first public defense attorney and the first to have experience representing indigent criminal defendants, since Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Dick Durbin, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, stated that in order to be first, one must be "often the best, and in some ways, the bravest."

Biden nominated Jackson to the Supreme Court in February. This fulfilled a campaign promise to nominate Black women to the court for the first time ever in American history. She will take the seat of Justice Stephen Breyer. He announced in January that would be retiring after 28-years on the court.

Senator Cory Booker, D.N.J. spoke about his emotions about Jackson's historic nomination and expressed pride in her family. Jackson will be the third Black justice after Clarence Thomas and Marshall, and the sixth woman.

Booker, a Black man, stated that the two-century-old Supreme Court members who were white were "extraordinary patriots" who helped to shape the country, but that not many people would have dreamed of being able to sit on the court.

Jackson, who was born in Miami, said that she didn't have to go to racially-segregated public schools as her parents did. "And the fact that we had made it that far was to us a testament of the hope and the promise of America that in one generation, we could go from racially-segregated schools in Florida to having me here as the first Floridian to be nominated for the Supreme Court of the United States."

Monday's Judiciary panel meeting saw Democrats attempt to counter Republican criticisms of Jackson's criminal record as a judge, federal public defender, and U.S. citizen. Sentencing Commission, an independent agency established by Congress to reduce disparity between federal prison sentences.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), said that Jackson is "not anti-law enforcement" or "soft on crime", noting that she has received support from national police organisations. "Judge Jackson does not represent a judicial activist."

First, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), asked about her child pornographer sentences. He stated in his opening statement, that his research had shown that she was a pattern of issuing lower sentences to child pornography cases. This is a repeat of comments he made in a thread on Twitter last week. In blast messages to supporters, the Republican National Committee repeated his claims.

Along with other Democrats present at the hearing, the White House has dismissed Hawley's criticisms as "toxic, weakly presented misinformation."

Hawley, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Tom Cotton from Arkansas are all members of a committee of Republicans. Their aspirations could collide with those of other Republicans who prefer to not pursue a scorched earth approach to Jackson's nomination.

Jackson appeared before Judiciary committee in 2013 after Biden selected her to fill an opening at the federal appeals courts in Washington . The committee also approved her and confirmed her appointment as a District Court Judge under President Barack Obama.


 

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