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”.
Ketanji Brown Jackson stresses on god and country
Ketanji Brown Jackson on Monday stressed her patriotism and Christianity amid strong criticism from Republicans.
In her opening statement, Ms Jackson said she was blessed to be “born in this great nation” and added: “I must also pause to reaffirm my thanks to god, for it is faith that sustains me at this moment”.
“My parents taught me that, unlike the many barriers that they had had to face growing up, my path was clearer, such that if I worked hard and believed in myself, in America I could do anything or be anything I wanted to be, Ms Jackson said.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar22 March 2022 09:45
‘I could never fill’ Justice Stephen Breyer’s shoes’, says Ketanji Brown Jackson
Ketanji Brown Jackson in her statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday cited retiring Justice Stephen Breyer as her model.
“It is extremely humbling to be considered for Justice Breyer’s seat, and I know that I could never fill his shoes,” Ms Jackson said.
“But if confirmed, I would hope to carry on his spirit,” she added.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar22 March 2022 09:00
The political make up of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court underwent significant changes under the Trump administration, when over the course of four years, former president Donald Trump oversaw the confirmation of three new justices, a third of the total bench, shifting the makeup of the court firmly to the right.
Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement during the reign of a Democratic president, however, does not mean the court’s overall make-up will change for now. Thanks to the rules of the Senate, Mr Biden will be able to confirm his replacement nominee – Ketanji Brown Jackson – should he be able to unify the Democratic Senate caucus.
John Bowden explains how Supreme Court appointments work.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar22 March 2022 08:09
Remarkable opinions by Ketanji Brown Jackson
Ketanji Brown Jackson has worked for seven years as a judge on the federal trial court in Washington DC before president Joe Biden appointed her to the appeals court that meets in the same courthouse.
Here are some of her notable opinions:
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar22 March 2022 07:34
Senators to grill Ketanji Brown Jackson on Tuesday
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson will face senators’ questions for the first time on Tuesday to become the only Black woman justice in the court’s history.
The 51-year-old will respond to each of the senators’ 30-minute rounds of grilling as the Judiciary Committee’s senator Chuck Grassley promised Republicans would “ask tough questions about Jackson’s judicial philosophy” without turning the hearings into a “spectacle”.
The four-day hearing began on Monday with Ms Jackson’s opening statements where she vowed to function independently and adjudicate cases “without fear or favour”.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar22 March 2022 07:04
Retired federal judges back Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record on child porn case
Rebutting criticism from Republican senators, a group of retired federal judges told the Senate Judiciary Committee that judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record on child pornography sentencing is “entirely consistent” with the records of other judges across the US.
In a letter sent to the committee after the first day of hearings, the judges rejected allegations that Senator Josh Hawley tweeted, claiming Ms Jackson’s record included a “pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes,” CNN reported.
“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record in individual cases is entirely consistent with the nationwide patterns described by the US Sentencing Commission and what the DOJ prosecutors or US court probation departments have recommended,” the letter read.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar22 March 2022 06:07
What happened at Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing?
Early in the congressional hearing to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, many references have already been made to the treatment justice Brett Kavanaugh received as he went through the same procedure.
Soon after then-president Donald Trump announced Mr Kavanaugh as his nominee to the high court, Dr Christine Blasey Ford contacted local lawmakers in California with the claim that Mr Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her nearly three decades earlier when they were high school students in the early 1980s .
Her claims – combined with similar allegations against the nominee by at least two other women – sent Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation process into a tailspin as Ms Ford elected to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee herself.
Megan Sheets and Clark Mindock report.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar22 March 2022 05:35
Democrats showered praise at Ketanji Brown Jackson
Democrats on Monday rallied behind the Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson and heaped praises at her following her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ms Jackson, 51, was nominated by president Joe Biden last month to replace the retiring associate justice Stephen Breyer, whom she also previously clerked for.
“You, Judge Jackson, are one of Mr Lincoln’s living witnesses of an America that is unafraid of challenge, willing to risk change, confident of the basic goodness of our citizens. And you are a living witness to the fact that, in America, all is possible,” wrote Senator Dick Durbin on Twitter.
“It was a joy to join civil rights leaders, other members of Congress and the friends and family of Judge Jackson to celebrate this historic moment,” said Senator Cory Booker.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar22 March 2022 04:51
Why Republicans Can’t Stop Ketanji Brown Jackson
While the GOP senate leader has criticized Ketanji Brown Jackson for allegedly being soft on crime and called the pick a victory for the far left, it’s because of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell’s own actions during the Trump administration that she will still likely be confirmed.
Mr McConnell in 2017 made his move as leader of the Senate to invoke the “nuclear option”, which eliminated the 60-vote majority threshold needed for a Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed.
The nominations now proceed with a 51-vote majority, and Republicans used that standard to confirm three justices on a mostly party-line basis.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar22 March 2022 04:01
ICYMI: Fact-checking GOP attacks on Judge Jackson’s record
the Associated Press released a fact-check over the weekend after GOP Sen Josh Hawley launched several attacks on Judge Ketanji Jackson Brown’s judicial record and in particular her treatment of child pornography cases.
According to the news service, Mr Hawley’s assertions “don’t stand up to scrutiny”.
John Bowden22 March 2022 03:16
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.