Supreme Court hearing live: White House slams Hawley for ‘QAnon-signaling smear’ in Ketanji Brown Jackson hearing

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Watch live as Senate Judiciary Committee begin hearing on Biden’s Supreme Court nominee

Ketanji Brown Jackson, Joe Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the first of her confirmation hearings. The first Black woman to be nominated to the court, she will if confirmed replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

With the Democrats in control of the Senate and the court now heavily tilted in conservatives’ favor, Ms Brown Jackson – currently a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia – is expected to be confirmed barring some unforseen event.

However, some Republicans have lately begun attacking her for her past work as a public defender, focusing in particular on her work defending sexual offenders. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, last week launched a broadside against her on Twitter, claiming without providing substantial context that “Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker” and that “this is a record that endangers our children.”

Mr Hawley’s words and similar ones from other GOP senators have been widely criticized, with Democrat Tim Kaine describing them to The Independent as “wild claims”.

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What are The Independent’s columnists saying about the Ketanji Brown Jackson hearings

There’s no shortage of opinions about Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Here’s what our Voices columnists are writing.

Michael Arceneaux looked into GOP outrage that resurfaced today over the questioning of the GOP’s most recent Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, on matters of her faith. He argues those questions were legitimate, even if Senators like South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham argued otherwise during today’s hearing.

Graham is willfully obscuring the issue here. Nobody had any problem with Amy Coney Barrett saying she loved her family and her faith de ella. What they were concerned about was Barrett’s membership of a fringe Catholic group called People of Praise, that teaches extremely hardline conservative notions such as the husband’s natural-born right to have authority over his wife. Considering Barrett had written about being stringently anti-abortion before — and considering that she has also written in the past about her belief that a Catholic judge’s religious beliefs should inform their decisions — her religion could be legitimately asked about during her own hearing. Indeed, Barrett became a justice despite all that, and is now poised to rule on cases related to abortion, marriage equality, and LGBT rights.

Meanwhile, Harriet Toner writes about how important it was that Ms Jackson spoke candidly about balancing her high-powered judicial career and her family life, a topic that isn’t always discussed enough in Washington and beyond.

Hearing Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson describes the challenge of juggling motherhood and career was a balm for working parents everywhere. It is not often that the battle to get it right, have it all and make it work is so openly acknowledged.

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Looking back: Republicans promised no spectacles before contentious day 2 of hearings

Just a day before Sen Lindsey Graham would storm off the Judiciary Committee following an exchange with Ketanji Brown Jackson on the issue of liberal groups supporting her nomination, his colleagues pledged that this week’s hearings would occur without the spectacle that they blamed Democrats for causing around the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

Sen Ted Cruz assured her that the hearing process “will not be a political circus” a day before he would go on to question her whether she believed it was OK to teach children that babies can be racist.

John Bowden23 March 2022 02:10

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How will Kentanji Brown Jackson rule on abortion?

Now that conservatives have a comfortable 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, many are wondering whether Roe v. Wadea landmark ruling protecting the right to an abortion, will finally be overturned after years of challenges from Republicans.

During her confirmation hearings on Tuesday, Ketanji Brown Jackson said the case is “settled law,” part of a line of abortion jurisprudence that “established a framework that the court has reaffirmed.”

Relying on past precedents, a legal concept known as stare decision“provides and establishes predictability, stability, it also serves as a restraint in this way on the exercise of judicial authority because the court looks at whether or not precedents are relied upon, whether they’re workable, in addition to whether or not they ‘re wrong,” she added.

This term, the Supreme Court has mulled a number of abortion cases with major implications for gnaws. Here’s key coverage on the issue from The Independent.

Josh Marcus23 March 2022 01:55

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‘I am not the Congress,” Ketanji Brown Jackson says, as GOP links her to low average sentence for rape convictions

Multiple GOP senators have tried to argue that Ketanji Brown Jackson has treated criminals too leniently when she’s handing down sentences, particularly for sex offenders.

“Do you think 7.2 months is too long or too short for someone convicted of rape?” Tom Cotton of Arkansas asked on Tuesday, referring to the average sentence for rape convictions, before going on to ask a similarly abstract question, if more people accused of murder should be arrested, given current crime clearance statistics.

Ms Brown Jackson, currently a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, said these broader enforcement questions are better put to Congress, which decides on the punishments and sentencing guidelines judges later apply.

“We should hold people accountable for their crimes. If people are not being held accountable, that’s a problem,” she said.

Watch video of the exchange below.

Josh Marcus23 March 2022 01:25

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Ketanji Brown Jackson on restrictions she follows when passing sentences

Repeatedly pressed by Sen Ted Cruz about her sentencing decisions on several child pornography cases, Ketanji Brown Jackson appeared to insinuate that Mr Cruz was deliberately leaving out context that contributed to her rulings.

She told the senator: “Congress is the body that tells sentencing judges what they are supposed to look at, and Congress has said that a judge is not playing a numbers game.”

The pointed remark came after Mr Cruz criticized her for departing from sentencing requests from prosecutors, which she reminded him was not the only factor she was supposed to consider.

“In every case, I did my duty to hold the defendants accountable in light of the evidence and the information that was presented to me,” she said.

Josh Marcus23 March 2022 01:00

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ICMYI: Jimmy Kimmel teases Republicans over Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings

On his late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live!the host joked that the hearings “give a number of our Republican senators a chance to compete in one of their favorite events: the subtle racism jamboree.”

Kimmel specifically called out South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham, saying that the politician “expects to be called racist at these hearings.”

He then shared a clip of Graham’s “interesting” speech at the hearings, in which he expressly stated that nobody is going to equate Judge Jackson to Bill Cosby like Justice Brett Kavanaugh was.

“Um thanks, I guess,” Kimmel replied.

Inga Parkel have the story.

Josh Marcus23 March 2022 00:40

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US Senator who said SCOTUS should not have legalized interracial marriage says he ‘misunderstood’ question

US Senator Mike Braun has walked back his claim that the Supreme Court should not have legalized interracial marriage, saying he “misunderstood” the question he was asked.

The Republican from Indiana made the comment when asked about some of the Supreme Court’s biggest decisions, such as Roe v Wade and whether those issues should be left to states.

“Earlier during a virtual press conference I misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage, let me be clear on that issue — there is no question the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, that is not something that is even up for debate, and I condemn racism in any form, at all levels and by any states, entities, or individuals,” he said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

Graeme Massie is tracking this story for The Independent.

Josh Marcus23 March 2022 00:10

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US Senator who said SCOTUS should not have legalized interracial marriage says he ‘misunderstood’ question

US Senator Mike Braun has walked back his claim that the Supreme Court should not have legalized interracial marriage, saying he “misunderstood” the question he was asked.

“Earlier during a virtual press conference I misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage, let me be clear on that issue — there is no question the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, that is not something that is even up for debate, and I condemn racism in any form, at all levels and by any states, entities, or individuals,” he said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

Graeme Massie is tracking this story for The Independent.

Josh Marcus23 March 2022 00:10

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Jackson discusses her judicial philosophy

During questioning on Tuesday Ms Jackson was asked whether she would label herself an originalist in terms of her views regarding how the Constitution should be applied to modern cases.

Conservatives have long argued that the document must be interpreted through the original views of its creators, while some progressives argue that it should be viewed in the context of today’s society.

“I’m reluctant to establish or adopt a particular label,” said Ms Jackson. “I’m looking at the facts in a case and my experience as a trial judge helps me to assess the facts…That’s a part of judging responsibility that isn’t really captured by originalism or living Constitution.”

She continued: “Judges are restrained, are constrained, in the exercise of our power under our Constitutional scheme. My methodology is designed to help me to make decisions within those confines.”

Josh Marcus23 March 2022 00:00

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Senator quotes Laura Ingraham talking about ‘all the money that’s been raised’ for Supreme Court

Senator Sheldon White House of Rhode Island cited the Fox News host’s interview with Senator Ted Cruz when discussing money spent by conservative groups to confirm conservative justices.

The interview came in December when Ms Ingraham called for the Senate to circumscribe the court’s power if it failed to rule the way conservatives wanted when it came to overturning Roe v Wade.

“If we have six Republican appointees on this court, after all the money that has been raised, the Federalist Society, all these big fat cat dinners – I’m sorry, I’m pissed about this – If this court with six justices cannot do the right thing here, the constitutional thing, then I think it’s time to do what Robert Bork said we should do,” she said, referencing the former judge and solicitor general Robert Bork, whose own nomination to the Supreme Court failed. “Which is to circumscribe the jurisdiction of this court and if they want to blow it up, then that’s the way to change things finally. Because this can’t stand. This is insane.”

The Independent‘s Eric Garcia have more.

Josh Marcus22 March 2022 23:40

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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