NATIONAL NEWS

Defending her record, Jackson back for 3rd day of hearings

Mar 23, 2022, 7:28 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:37 pm
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her confirmation hearing be...
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, March 22, 2022 in Washington, DC. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden's pick to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, would become the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court if confirmed. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson returned to the Senate for a third day of hearings Wednesday as Republicans try to paint her as soft on crime and Democrats herald the historic nature of her nomination to become the first Black woman on the high court.

“America is ready for the Supreme Court glass ceiling to shatter,” Sen. Dick Durbin, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said as Jackson’s second and last day answering senators questions began.

In Tuesday’s marathon hearing, Republicans aggressively questioned her on the sentences she has handed down to sex offenders in her nine years as a federal judge, her advocacy on behalf of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, her thoughts on critical race theory and even her religious views. At one point, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas read from children’s books that he said are taught at her teenage daughter’s school.

Several GOP senators grilled Jackson on her child pornography sentences, arguing they were lighter than federal guidelines recommend. She said she based the sentences on many factors, not just the guidelines, and said some of the cases had given her nightmares.

Could her rulings have endangered children? “As a mother and a judge,” she said, “nothing could be further from the truth.”

In what Durbin described as “a trial by ordeal,” Jackson spent her first day of hearings answering GOP concerns and highlighting her empathetic style on the bench. The committee’s Republicans, several of whom have their eyes on the presidency, tried to brand her — and Democrats in general — as soft on crime, an emerging theme in GOP midterm election campaigns.

Jackson told the committee that her brother and two uncles served as police officers, and that “crime and the effect on the community, and the need for law enforcement — those are not abstract concepts or political slogans to me.”

Wednesday’s hearing is the second day of questioning, and the third day of hearings, after Jackson and the 22 members of the panel gave opening statements on Monday. On Thursday, the committee will hear from legal experts before an eventual vote to move her nomination to the Senate floor.

President Joe Biden chose Jackson in February, fulfilling a campaign pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court for the first time in American history. She would take the seat of Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced in January that he would retire after 28 years on the court. Jackson would be the third Black justice, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, and the sixth woman.

Barring unexpected developments, Democrats who control the Senate by the slimmest of margins hope to wrap up Jackson’s confirmation before Easter, though Breyer is not leaving until the current session ends this summer.

Jackson said the potential to be the first Black woman on the court is “extremely meaningful” and that she had received many letters from young girls. Her nomination also “supports public confidence in the judiciary,” Jackson said.

Democrats have been full of praise for Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, noting that she would not only be the first Black woman but also the first public defender on the court, and the first with experience representing indigent criminal defendants since Marshall.

Republicans praised that experience, too, but also questioned it, focusing in particular on work she did roughly 15 years ago representing detainees at the U.S. facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Jackson said public defenders don’t pick their clients and are “standing up for the constitutional value of representation.” She said she continued to represent one client in private practice because her firm happened to be assigned his case.

Picking up on a thread started by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and amplified by the Republican National Committee in fundraising emails, Cruz questioned Jackson on her sentences for child pornographers, at one point bringing out a large poster board and circling sentences he said he found egregious.

In most of those cases, prosecutors or others representing the Justice Department generally argued for sentences that were lighter than those recommended by federal guidelines.

Jackson defended her decisions by saying she takes into account not only sentencing guidelines but also the stories of the victims, the nature of the offenses and the defendants’ histories.

“A judge is not playing a numbers game,” she said. “A judge is looking at all of these different factors.”

Cruz, Hawley and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., are potential 2024 presidential candidates, and their rounds of questioning were some of the most combative, hitting on issues that are popular with the GOP base. Cruz asked her about critical race theory, a premise that centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions. Jackson said the idea doesn’t come up in her work as a judge, and it “wouldn’t be something I would rely on” if confirmed.

The Texas senator also questioned her about her daughter’s private school in Washington, where she sits on the board, bringing up a book called “Antiracist Baby” that he said was taught to younger children at the school.

“Do you agree with this book that is being taught for kids that babies are racist?” Cruz asked.

Visibly annoyed, Jackson took a long pause. She said no children should be made to feel they are racists, victims or oppressors. “I don’t believe in any of that,” she said.

Asked about abortion, Jackson readily agreed with comments that conservative Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh made about two landmark cases when they were up for confirmation. “Roe and Casey are the settled law of the Supreme Court concerning the right to terminate a woman’s pregnancy. They have established a framework that the court has reaffirmed,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s answers bypassed a key point: The court right now is weighing whether to overrule those cases that affirm a nationwide right to abortion.

Near the end of the day, Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., asked Jackson when life begins. She told him that she didn’t know, and added, without elaborating, “I have a religious view that I set aside when I am ruling on cases.”

___

Associated Press writers Jessica Gresko, Lisa Mascaro, Josh Boak, Colleen Long and Kevin Freking in Washington and Aaron Morrison in New York contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Railroad workers work the scene where an Amtrak train derailed on June 27, 2022 in Mendon, Missouri...
Amy Simonson and Pete Muntean, CNN

NTSB sending investigative team to Amtrak derailment in Missouri that killed 3 people, injured at least 50

A team of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will arrive in Missouri early Tuesday to learn more about the derailment of an Amtrak train that left at least three people dead, according to the agency's chair.
9 hours ago
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) (C), Chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th ...
MARY CLARE JALONICK, FARNOUSH AMIRI and MICHAEL BALSAMO, Associated Press

Jan. 6 panel to hear from aide who saw burned documents

The House panel investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection is holding a surprise hearing on Tuesday with an unidentified witness.
9 hours ago
In this aerial view, members of law enforcement investigate a tractor trailer on June 27, 2022 in S...
ERIC GAY and ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press

48 migrants die after trailer abandoned in Texas heat

Officials said 46 people have been found dead and 16 others were taken to hospitals with heat-related illnesses after a tractor-trailer rig containing suspected migrants was found Monday on a remote back road in southwest San Antonio.
1 day ago
Los Angeles police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying a suspect who is seen on s...
Natasha Chen and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Police arrest suspect in an unprovoked assault of an Asian man in Los Angeles

Los Angeles police have arrested a suspect in the assault of an Asian man last week, in an attack caught on surveillance video, police said.
1 day ago
Hundreds of protesters marched in Provo for abortion rights....
KEVIN McGILL, AMY FORLITI and GEOFF MULVIHILL Associated Press

Supreme Court’s abortion ruling sets off new court fights

Judges have temporarily blocked abortion bans in Louisiana and Utah, while a federal court in South Carolina said a law sharply restricting the procedure would take effect there immediately.
1 day ago
FILE: Rudy Giuliani (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)...
KAREN MATTHEWS Associated Press

Heckler charged with assault after clapping Rudy Giuliani on the back

A heckler who clapped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the back at a campaign event has been arrested on an assault charge.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Defending her record, Jackson back for 3rd day of hearings