A diverse judicial branch ‘strengthens public confidence in our system’

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, faces another round of questions from lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her landmark confirmation hearings and final day of questioning.

Two senators on the panel — Democrat Jon Ossoff of Georgia and Republican Thom Tillis of North Carolina — will have 30 minutes to ask questions. Depending on their time, each senator on the panel will have 20 minutes for supplementary questions.

“It’s a tough job, and many have risen to the challenge, but none as well as you did yesterday. Thank you for doing so much,” committee chairman Dick Durbin said as he opened the Wednesday hearing. “I would say this, much of what we heard from a handful of senators yesterday needs to be put into context.”

“The vast majority of senators on both sides, I believe, were asking questions that were appropriate and positive in their approach and respectful of the candidate before us. But for many senators, yesterday was an opportunity to present talking points for the election. November. Like, all Democrats are soft on crime, so this candidate has to be soft on crime. Well, you ruined their stereotype,” he continued.

What happened yesterday : On Tuesday, a marathon first round of questioning extended late into the evening as Republicans asked Jackson about his judicial philosophy, his legal record and past defense work, and support for his nomination from leftist groups.

Jackson defended his record amid pointed questions from Republican senators. She refuted Republican claims that she is low on crime by pointing to her concern for public safety and the rule of law, both as a judge and as an American.

“Crime, and the effects on the community, and the need for law enforcement — these are not abstract concepts or political slogans to me,” she said.

She responded to concerns raised by Republicans about the potential for judicial activism by saying she approaches her work impartially and stressing that it would be inappropriate to impose a personal opinion or political preference.

“When I receive a case, I make sure I proceed from a position of neutrality,” she said.

Jackson also discussed elements of his tenure in the legal profession that have drawn particular scrutiny — and criticism — from Republicans.

Describing his work as a public defender, Jackson said, “I was at the federal public defender’s office right after the Supreme Court ruled that people detained at Guantanamo Bay by the president could apply for a review of their detention.”

She added, “Federal public defenders can’t choose their clients. They have to represent anyone who comes in and that’s a service. That’s what you do as a federal public defender, you uphold the constitutional value of representation. .”

Jackson also forcefully rebutted concerns expressed by some GOP senators about his conviction record in child pornography cases, calling the issue a “sickening and flagrant crime.”


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