Utahns lead first day of confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Mar 21, 2022, 6:09 PM | Updated: Jun 18, 2022, 9:00 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Confirmation hearings started Monday in Washington for the first black woman to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A friend and colleague of Judge Ketanji Jackson who introduced her on day one of the hearings happened to have a very strong connection to Utah.

Judge Thomas B. Griffith is a graduate of BYU and was also the University’s former General Counsel. He is a former U.S. Court of Appeals judge and has known Judge Jackson for years.

“This is a really good human being,” Judge Griffith said after day one wrapped up. “She’s highly qualified to be on the Supreme Court. I mean there’s no question.”

Judge Griffith sat before dozens of senators talking about why he believes Judge Jackson is well qualified for the job, even though he admitted they don’t always see eye to eye on rulings.

“She and I have different views about a number of things,” he said. “There were two instances where I reversed Judge Jackson when she was in district court, and I was on the Court of Appeals. I disagreed with her view on what the law required. Reasonable people can disagree about these things about what it means. We shouldn’t think that just because someone disagrees with us about what the constitution means that they are our enemy. We’re better off with having vigorous debates conducted respectfully.”Utah Senator Mike Lee spoke during the morning hours of the hearing and said he was very impressed with Judge Jackson but it was only day one.

“She’s had a stellar career, she’s got impressive credentials,” said Senator Lee. “It’s important for the public and for the Senate itself in the confirmation process to know how a judge would decide cases. We want judges who are there to decide each case based on the law and what the law says and not based on external criteria, not based on public opinion. That’s what we’re here to ascertain.”  One thing that concerned Senator Lee, was Judge Jackson’s sentences in some child pornography cases.She has imposed sentences that are consistently, considerably below the guidelines, recommended sentences and we want some answers to our questions about why that has happened, he said. 

The hearings will wrap up on Thursday but the voting from Senators may take a week or more.  

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Utahns lead first day of confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson