Supreme Court Hearings: Ketanji Brown Jackson seems headed for confirmation, says no ‘agendas’

WASHINGTON – Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson faced a barrage of Republicans questioning Wednesday on her criminal convictions as her historic bid to join the Supreme Court turned from a high court case to a high court ruling.

She said she would rule “without an agenda” as the first black female Supreme Court justice, dismissing Republicans’ attempts to describe her as soft on crime in her decade in federal office. Democrats defended her and announced the historic nature of her candidacy.

“America is ready to break the glass ceiling of the Supreme Court,” said Sen. Dick Darbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Jackson’s second and final day, answering questions at a confirmation hearing.

Although her approval seems entirely certain – Democrats are aiming for a vote before Easter – Republicans have continued to try to break her record.

In more than 12 hours on Tuesday, Republican senators questioned her about her sentences for child pornography offenders, her legal defense of Guantanamo Bay suspects, her thoughts on racial criticism and more. and its religious views. .

Asked about a positive treatment case at Harvard University, her student Jackson said she would resign. “This is my plan,” she said when asked by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Jackson serves on the Harvard Board of Supervisors.

In a heated interrogation, South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham nailed Jackson to a sentence he believes is appropriate for people convicted of child pornography – an issue that has also been raised by several of his right-wing colleagues. They have described some of her previous convictions, along with her response to the hearing, as very lenient.

Graham often interrupted her as she tried to speak, and at one point said that the judges simply had to “put her in jail!”

This exchange with Graham was part of a wider effort by the commission’s Republicans – several of whom are potential candidates for the presidency – to describe Jackson’s background and judicial philosophy as overly compassionate and gentle with criminals. offenses.

There is an emerging emphasis on crime in the GOP midterm campaigns, and the interrogation at the hearing suggests that, contrary to Democratic expectations, Jackson’s affirmative vote in the full Senate is unlikely to garner much, if any, support.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, the first Republican to question Jackson Wednesday, said he appeared to be “a very kind person” – but “there is at least one level of empathy involved in your treatment of a defendant that some might have consider beyond what some of us would feel comfortable with in terms of justice. “

Jackson, with the support of the Democrats on the committee, vigorously defended her background, saying Republicans misjudged her decisions. Asked if her decisions endanger children, she told the commission on Tuesday: “Nothing can be further from the truth.”

She said she bases her sentences on many factors, not just federal guidelines, and that some of her cases have caused nightmares. He said the conviction was not a “number game”, noting that there were no mandatory penalties for sex offenders and that there had been significant discussion on the issue.

“The cases are ‘the worst I’ve ever seen,'” Jackson said.

He said that if confirmed, he would do what he has done as a federal judge, “which is to rule from a position of neutrality, to carefully consider the facts and circumstances of each case without any agenda, without any attempt to push the law to one or the other.” another direction “.

She reminded the committee that her brother and her two uncles served as police officers and that “crime and its effects on the community and the need for law enforcement – these are not abstract concepts or political slogans for me”.

Although they tried to lower her record, several Republicans acknowledged that it was likely to be confirmed. Democrats can confirm it without any bipartisan support in the Senate by 50-50, as Vice President Kamala Harris can vote for the tie.

President Joe Biden elected Jackson in February, fulfilling a campaign promise to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court for the first time in American history. He would replace Judge Stephen Breyer, who announced in January that he would retire this summer after 28 years in court.

Jackson would be the third black judge, after Thergood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, and the sixth woman. Her confirmation will keep the current Conservative majority 6-3 on the floor.

On Thursday, the last day of the hearings, the committee will hear legal experts before a possible vote on the transfer of her candidacy to the Senate.

Democrats are full of praise for Jackson, noting that she would not only be the first black woman but also the first public defender in court and the first with experience to represent needy defendants after Marshall.

Jackson said having a different judiciary is important because it “boosts public confidence in our system” and “gives confidence that court rulings are fair and just.”

She often spoke about her parents during the two days of interrogation and contrasts her own journey with their experiences that grew up during the country’s divided past.

“One generation, we went from the reality of raising my parents to the reality of my own, and I consider myself, having been born in 1970, to be the first generation to benefit from the civil rights movement,” Jackson said. .

In opposition, Republicans have also focused on her work about 15 years ago, representing detainees at US facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Jackson said public defenders do not select their clients and “defend the constitutional value of representation.” She said she continued to represent a client in the private practice because her case happened to be assigned to her company.

Some of the toughest interrogation rounds on Tuesday came from potential GOP presidential candidates, including Cruz, Missouri Sen. Josh Howley, and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. Everything was hit on issues that are popular under the GOP, including attacks on critical race theory, the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions. Jackson said the idea did not appear in her work as a judge and that “it would not be something I would rely on” if it were confirmed.

Asked about the abortion, Jackson gladly agreed with the comments that conservative judges Amy Connie Barrett and Brett Cavanaugh made about two landmark cases when they were ready for confirmation. “Roe and Casey are the Supreme Court’s established law on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. They have created a framework that the court has reaffirmed,” Jackson said.

Even now, the court is considering whether to dismiss cases that confirm a nationwide right to abortion.

Near the end of Tuesday’s lengthy hearing, Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., Asked Jackson when life begins. He told her he did not know, adding, “I have a religious view that I set aside when deciding on matters.”

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Supreme Court Hearings: Ketanji Brown Jackson seems headed for confirmation, says no ‘agendas’ Source link Supreme Court Hearings: Ketanji Brown Jackson seems headed for confirmation, says no ‘agendas’

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