Not only is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson being watched, but also the Supreme Court nominee. This historic moment in history is also being observed by senators, as they try to determine who the first Black woman will be on the high court.
Some senators feel overwhelmed with joy, as Cory Booker from New Jersey describes the surge of emotion he felt at the possibility to confirm a judge that would make the court more American-like.
Others, led by Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley quiz Ted Cruz about the views of the federal judge on race and crime. This amplifies election year grievances as well as a backlash against changing culture.
Jackson was present for a third-day before Senate Judiciary Committee. These grueling hearings are providing a vivid portrait not only of the nation’s promise but also its ongoing racial challenges.
On Wednesday, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill), opened by lamenting that his panel was “the testing ground of conspiracy theories and culture warfare theories.”
He declared that America is ready for the Supreme Court’s glass ceiling to be broken.
These are some key takeaways from Day Three, the week-long confirmation hearings.
PUBLIC DEFENDERS IN DEFENSE
Jackson was the first federal public defense to be elected to the Supreme Court. She shared her thoughts about the importance and value of the work that is done to ensure equal trials for all Americans.
She answered questions from Jon Ossoff, Democratic Senator of Georgia. She explained that before 1963’s Gideon v. Wainwright ruling, those accused of crimes but unable to afford legal representation were not guaranteed access to legal counsel.
She stated that the Sixth Amendment protections, which include the right of trial, also includes the right of appointed counsel. This means that anyone accused of criminal conduct now has the right of an attorney.
“And that’s very significant.”
Jackson’s efforts to represent those accused of crimes and the sentences she gave as a federal judge have created a long list of difficult cases that senators can review. This is especially important since Republicans suggest she is soft on crime. Critics claim she is too sympathetic to the cases.
Democrats counter that Jackson is from a police officer’s family and is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police.
Jackson’s records are being examined in the same way that Thurgood Marsh, the legendary civil rights attorney,is being examined for his representation of criminal defendants half a century ago.
“JUDGES CAN’T MAKE LAW”
Jackson presented herself as a judge who relies upon method and not judicial philosophy to stay neutral. She works to “stay within my lane” as an judge, rather than as a policy-making legislator.
Wednesday, she reaffirmed her view reminding senators that Congress has the power of making laws and that the Constitution grants the courts the judicial authority to interpret those laws.
Republicans tried to portray Jackson, who they claim is an activist justice and a judge who shows empathy for defendants in cases.
She told senators, “It’s important that each branch operates within their own sphere as consistent with my judiciar methodology.” “It means that judges cannot make laws; judges shouldn’t be policy-makers,” she explained to senators.
Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said that it seemed as though you were a very kind person and that your treatment of a defendant is at least as compassionate as some might consider.
REVIEW THE RECORD
The third day of hearings was opened by senators. They were resolving the over 12 hour session on Tuesday that explored issues of race, crime, and especially the emotional and disputed debate about the record sentencing of child pornography offenders.
Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican from South Carolina) re-examined the arguments, arguing that Jackson should have imposed harsher sentences on child porn defendants than he did, and not apply other deterrents.
Graham stated, “Put their A– in Jail.”
Just a day earlier, Hawley and Cruz, along with Sen. Marsha of Tennessee, had claimed that Jackson was too permissive in securing criminal defendants, despite the fact that fact-checkersand other experts stating that Jackson’s sentences are within federal guidelines norms.
Cruz, who had drifted into critical race theory at one point, pulled out “Antiracist Baby”, a children’s book, to ask her about the teaching of the academic subject.
Jackson paused and sighed before answering the senators’ questions.
Chuck Grassley, the top Republican senator, said he backed Cruz’s request that the White House turn over paperwork relating to sentencing recommendations made by probation officers in many of the child pornography cases being examined.
Grassley stated, “No one on the other side of this aisle had access to these information.”
Democrats claim that the paperwork is now easily accessible for review.
Jackson is the first Black woman to be nominated to the court. The court was once a bastion of racial segregation, but for the past 233 years it has been dominated by white men.
With their slim majority of 50-50 senators, Democrats have the potential to confirm Jackson as President Joe Biden’s choice to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, even if all Republicans are opposed. Her nomination is expected to be voted on by Easter.
Jackson, if confirmed, would be the sixth female justice of the court’s past and fourth among the nine current members.