Jackson, 51, thanked God for his help and expressed love for "our country" and "the Constitution" in a twelve-minute speech before the Senate Judiciary Committee. This was at the end her first day of confirmation hearings. Nearly four hours were consumed by comments from 22 of the members of the panel.
Republicans promised to ask pointed questions in the next two days with a particular focus on her criminal record. Democrats were full praise for President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee.
Jackson sat with her family, wearing socks bearing George Washington's image, and stressed that she was independent, having ruled cases "from an impartial posture" during her nine-year tenure as a judge.
She stated, "I have dedicated my life to ensuring that the words engraved at the Supreme Court Building -- equal justice under the law -- are a reality and an ideal."
If there is no significant mistake, Democrats control the Senate by the smallest margins and intend to complete her confirmation before Easter. She would be the third Black justice after Thurgood Marshall or Clarence Thomas and the first Black woman to sit on the high courts.
Jackson's most stern Republican critics and her Democratic defenders acknowledged the historic, barrier-breaking nature her presence. Jackson was the first Black woman to be nominated for the Supreme Court.
It's hard to be the first. "Often you have to be best, in some cases the bravest," Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois, stated in support.
Senator Cory Booker, D.N.J. spoke of the "joy” in the room. She also acknowledged the pride of her family as Jackson's parents cheered behind her. Booker repeated the Jackson story about the letter her youngest daughter wrote to President Barack Obama many years ago, praising her mother's experiences.
Booker stated, "We will see a new generation talking about their mamas" and writing to the president of the United States to tell them that mom should be on Supreme Court. I want to tell my daughter that her dream is close to becoming a reality.
Democrats attempted to counter Republican criticisms of her criminal record as a judge, before that as a federal court defender and as a U.S. citizen in their opening statements. Sentencing Commission.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said that Jackson is "not anti-law enforcement" and "soft on crime". He noted that Jackson's relatives have worked in law enforcement, and that she has the support of some national law enforcement agencies. "Judge Jackson does not represent a judicial activist."
Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and the committee's senior Republican, said that Republicans would ask tough questions about Jackson's judicial approach, without making the hearings a spectacle.
Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican from South Carolina) noted that Democrats opposed past Republican nominees for judicial vacancies who were Black or Hispanic. He said that Jackson's race would not deter him and his GOP colleagues from asking probing questions.
On some left-leaning criticism, he said: "It's all about, 'We are all racist if you ask hard questions.' This is not going to fly.
Graham was one the three Republicans who supported Jackson's 53-44 confirmation as an appellate judge. He has stated that he will not vote for her again in the coming weeks.
Although few Republicans will vote for her, many GOP senators didn't harshly criticize Jackson. Jackson's confirmation would not alter the court’s 6-3 conservative majority. Many Republicans took the time to criticize Jackson's record, rather than Jackson's.
Republicans want to use her nomination as a way to portray Democrats as being soft on crime. This is a popular theme in GOP midterm elections. Biden has appointed several ex-public defenders to life-tenured judicial positions. Jackson also served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an independent agency established by Congress to reduce disparities in federal prison sentences.
Jackson sat silently, taking notes. Sen. Josh Hawley (Republican from Missouri) stated in his opening statement, that his research had shown that she was a consistent issuer of lower sentences in child pornography case cases. This is a repeat of comments he made in a thread on Twitter last week. His claims were repeated by the Republican National Committee, which Hawley didn't raise last year when he interviewed Jackson before voting against her appeals court confirmation.
Along with many Democrats present at the hearing, the White House has dismissed Hawley’s criticism as "toxic, weakly presented misinformation."
Doug Jones, an ex-Senator from Alabama, is helping Jackson navigate the Senate process. He told reporters afterwards that Jones "will be the one who counter many of these questions" from Hawley on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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.
She will provide the Senate and most Americans with the most comprehensive look yet at Harvard-trained lawyer, who has a wider resume than most nominees. She would be the first justice to have significant criminal defense experience since Marshall.
Jackson was present before the same committee in the last year after Biden had chosen her to fill the opening at the Washington federal appeals court, which is just down the hill from The Supreme Court.
The American Bar Association has awarded her the highest rating of "well qualified", which is how it evaluates nominees for judicial office.
Biden elected Jackson in February to fulfill a campaign promise to nominate Black women to the Supreme Court, the first time ever in American history. She will take the seat of Justice Stephen Breyer. He announced in January that his 28-year tenure would be ending.
Jackson was a law clerk for Breyer in the early stages of her legal career. Jackson had high praises for her former boss and said she couldn't fill his shoes. Jackson stated, "But if confirmed I would hope to continue his spirit."
She expressed her love and gratitude to Patrick Jackson, her husband who was a Washington surgeon. He wiped away her tears. He was accompanied by his two high school-aged daughters, one from college, and the other from high school.
Despite the fact that Breyer's seat won't officially open until summer, Democrats are quickly moving to confirm Jackson. They are outnumbered in the 50-50 Senate they have run, thanks to the tiebreaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harriman.
The Senate hearings were the main focus, but the court was still in session Monday. However, one chair was empty. Thomas, the longest-serving justice at 73 years, was admitted to the hospital for treatment of an infection. However, he is not suffering from COVID-19.