Supreme Court hearings – live: Ketanji Brown Jackson to face Senate questioning

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’ favour, 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 criticised, with Democrat Tim Kaine describing them to The Independent as “wild claims”.

Key points

  • Judge is first Black woman nominated to Supreme Court

  • If confirmed, Ms Brown Jackson will replace liberal Clinton appointee Stephen Breyer

  • Some Republicans have attacked Ms Brown for record defending sexual offenders

Day 2 of hearings begin

13:33 , John Bowden

Day 2 of hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson, the president’s Supreme Court nominee, began at 9:00 a.m.

Watch here:

Durbin says Jackson’s record ‘belies’ criticism from Hawley

13:36 , John Bowden

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Dick Durbin used his question period at the beginning of Ms Jackson’s testimony on Tuesday to dismantle arguments raised on Twitter and at Monday’s hearing against the judge’s confirmation.

Mr Hawley and other Republicans have honed in on Ms Jackson’s judicial record and launched a barrage of criticism accusing her of passing lenient sentences for child pornography offenders.

Mr Durbin pointed to a number of fact-checks that have found Mr Hawley’s arguments to be “meritless” and lacking necessary context; the senator also pointed out how her sentencing practices fell well within the judicial norms.

He added that Ms Jackson’s record “belies” criticism that she is somehow “soft on crime”.

Catch up: Ketanji Brown Jackson thanks her daughters

10:41 , Andrew Naughtie

In her opening remarks before the Judiciary Committee yesterday, the Supreme Court nominee had this message for her daughters:

“I’m saving a special moment in this introduction for my daughters, Talia and Leila. Girls, I know it has not been easy as I’ve tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I did not always get the balance right.

“But I hope that you’ve seen that with hard work, determination, and love, it can be done. I am so looking forward to seeing what each of you chooses to do with your amazing lives in this incredible country. I love you so much.”

Read more from Io Dodds below.

Ketanji Brown Jackson stresses on god and country

09:45 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

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.

‘I could never fill’ Justice Stephen Breyer’s shoes’, says Ketanji Brown Jackson

09:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

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.

The political make up of the Supreme Court

08:09 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

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.

What is the political make up of the Supreme Court, and how are justices selected?

Notable opinions by Ketanji Brown Jackson

07:34 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

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:

Notable opinions by high court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson

Senators to grill Ketanji Brown Jackson on Tuesday

07:04 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

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”.

Retired federal judges back Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record on child porn case

06:07 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

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.

What happened at Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing?

05:35 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

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.

What happened at Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing?

Democrats showered praise at Ketanji Brown Jackson

04:51 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Democrats on Monday rallied behind 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.

Why Republicans can't stop Ketanji Brown Jackson

04:01 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

While the GOP senate leader has criticised 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.

John Bowden has more.

Why Republicans can oppose Ketanji Brown Jackson, but can’t stop her

ICYMI: Fact-checking GOP attacks on Judge Jackson’s record

03:16 , John Bowden

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”.

Read more from the AP:

AP FACT CHECK: Republicans twist Jackson's judicial record

While Jackson hearings continue, another justice remains hospitalised

02:15 , John Bowden

Judge Ketanji Jackson Brown’s confirmation hearings to determine whether or not she will succeed Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court began on Monday even as another justice on the bench, Clarence Thomas, remained in the hospital due to “flu-like symptoms”.

On Monday, it was announced by the Court that Mr Thomas was not diagnosed with Covid-19.

“He underwent tests, was diagnosed with an infection, and is being treated with intravenous antibiotics,” a press release stated.

“His symptoms are abating, he is resting comfortably, and he expects to be released from the hospital in a day or two. Justice Thomas will participate in the consideration and discussion of any cases for which he is not present on the basis of the briefs, transcripts, and audio of the oral arguments,” it continued.

Read more from The Independent’s Graeme Massie:

Supreme Court says hospitalised Justice Clarence Thomas doesn’t have Covid

ICYMI: Ted Cruz calls allegations against Kavanaugh his ‘teenage dating habits’

01:15 , John Bowden

Ted Cruz likened allegations of sexual assault that dogged Brett Kavanaugh throughout his confirmation process to “teenage dating habits” during his remarks at Monday’s hearing.

Mr Cruz and other Republicans roundly criticised Democrats at the hearing, the first of several for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, for their treatment of Mr Kavanaugh during his own confirmation. Democrats demanded an FBI investigation into allegations that surfaced after her initial hearings ended.

Read more from The Independent’s Eric Garcia:

Ted Cruz calls allegations against Kavanaugh his ‘teenage dating habits’

Ted Cruz cites slaveowner in confirmation hearing for Ketanji Brown Jackson

00:15 , John Bowden

Senator Ted Cruz cited a slaveowning Supreme Court justice who formed an organisation bent on sending free Black Americans to Africa on Monday as an example of a past Supreme Court nomination which had been seen, at the time, as non-controversial.

The senator quipped that “Supreme Court confirmations were not always controversial,” adding that “Bushrod Washington when nominated to the Supreme Court in 1798 was confirmed the very next day”.

Mr Cruz’s assertion was correct, but drew criticism on Twitter as it was pointed out that the justice (a relative of George Washington) owned slaves and fiercely resisted the idea of abolition. He was also the founder of the American Colonization Society, which arranged for the passage of thousands of free Black Americans to Liberia after the country was founded in 1847.

Read more from The Independent’s Eric Garcia:

Ted Cruz cites slaveowner in confirmation hearing for Ketanji Brown Jackson

RNC talking points outline GOP plan of attack

Monday 21 March 2022 23:45 , John Bowden

The Republican National Committee is seeking to attack Judge Jackson on the grounds that she “has a history of championing” critical race theory, according to talking points published on the party’s website.

The line of attack was not mentioned by most Republicans at Monday’s hearing, and could indicate a disconnect between party leaders and lawmakers on strategy for opposing the judge’s confirmation.

Black women watch Supreme Court hearing with anticipation

Monday 21 March 2022 23:14 , John Bowden

As Ketanji Brown Jackson faces the lawmakers of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Black women around the nation are watching to see if they will finally achieve representation on the nation’s highest court.

The Independent’s Eric Garcia took a look at how this confirmation process means so much more to many Black Americans:

Black women watch with hope as Ketanji Brown Jackson begins her confirmation hearings

ICYMI: Things (and people) to look out for as Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings continue

Monday 21 March 2022 22:45 , John Bowden

Day 1 of Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearings is over, but the main event is still on the way.

Beginning tomorrow, senators will have the chance to question the judge on the record regarding her judicial philosophy and history on the bench.

The Independent’s Eric Garcia on what to look out for in the days ahead:

Who and what to watch at Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing

Lindsey Graham: Historic nature of Jackson’s nomination won’t be GOP’s focus

Monday 21 March 2022 22:15 , John Bowden

Sen Lindsey Graham appeared supportive of the idea of seeing the first Black woman confirmed to the US Supreme Court during his remarks on Monday while apparently chafing at the idea that such a topic would be relevant to the Judiciary Committee’s proceedings.

Mr Graham tried to draw a distinction between how Democrats treat nominees of colour depending on which political tradition they hail from.

"If you're a Hispanic or African-American conservative, it's about your philosophy. [But] now it's gonna be about the historic nature of the pick," Mr Graham said.

"The bottom line here is when it is about philosophy when it's somebody of colour on our side, it's about we're all racist if we ask hard questions. It's not going to fly with us. We're used to it by now, at least I am,” the senator continued.

Psaki: Ketanji Brown Jackson ‘deserves’ bipartisan votes

Monday 21 March 2022 21:45 , John Bowden

White House press secretary Jen Psaki quipped on Monday that President Joe Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court “deserves” votes from Republican senators who previously voted to confirm her to the federal judiciary.

"Our view is that given she has been confirmed three times with bipartisan support, that she has extensive experience ... she certainly deserves that,” Ms Psaki said on Monday.

Ms Jackson faced opening statements from Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee before delivering her own at the end of Monday’s session.

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s husband grows emotional as she thanks him in statement

Monday 21 March 2022 21:11 , John Bowden

Judge Jackson’s husband, Dr Patrick Jackson, was visibly tearful as she thanked him during her opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

The remarks came at the end of a exhaustive day of opening statements from lawmakers on the committee.

“I have no doubt that without him by my side...none of this would have been possible,” she said of Dr Jackson. “He’s been the best husband, father, and friend I could ever imagine.”

Read more in The Independent:

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s husband tearful as she delivers opening remarks

Jackson vows to serve on SCOTUS with transparency and ‘without fear or favor’

Monday 21 March 2022 20:22 , John Bowden

Ketanji Brown Jackson vowed on Monday during her opening remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee that she would approach cases with a “neutral posture” if chosen to serve on the Supreme Court.

Ms Jackson laid out her judicial philosophy in a statement to senators after listening to hours of their own remarks, including some attacks on her character and record that have been called vicious and unfair by the White House, without being able to respond.

“I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously,” she told the senators.

“I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent to my judicial oath,” Ms Jackson continued.

Ketanji Brown Jackson vows transparency and to serve ‘without fear or favour’

Blackburn unleashes brutal attack on Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record

Monday 21 March 2022 19:41 , John Bowden

Sen Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee launched into a pointed attack against Ketanji Brown Jackson’s career during Monday’s hearing, accusing the nominee of having a “hidden agenda” throughout her time as a justice.

The right-wing Republican senator’s remarks differed significantly from the tone struck by other members of the panel, including those of her own party.

"I can only wonder what’s your hidden agenda? Is it to let violent criminals, cop killers and child predators back to the streets?" she asked Ms Jackson, who was not able to respond.

Cory Booker tearful as he describes letter from Ketanji Brown Jackson’s daughter

Monday 21 March 2022 18:49 , John Bowden

Sen Cory Booker of New Jersey, the only Black member of the Judiciary Committee, grew emotional during Monday’s hearing as he described a letter Ms Jackson’s daughter wrote to then-President Barack Obama urging him to nominate her mother to the Supreme Court.

Watch Mr Booker’s opening statement:

Brett Kavanaugh: What was he accused of and what happened at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing?

Monday 21 March 2022 18:26 , John Bowden

Monday’s hearing quickly turned into a platform for GOP senators to list their grievances regarding how Brett Kavanaugh was treated by the Senate prior to his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

The Independent takes a look at the allegations that dogged Mr Kavanaugh before his confirmation and nearly derailed his ascent to the Court:

What happened at Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing?

Hearing resumes following lunch break

Monday 21 March 2022 18:11 , John Bowden

Monday’s hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee resumed around 2:10 p.m., following a break for lunch.

Sen Tom Cotton was the first to speak as Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing continued, and immediately launched into a tirade against the Biden adminsitration’s policies ranging from the now-defunct Covid vaccine mandate and security at the US-Mexico border.

White House responds to Hawley criticism

Monday 21 March 2022 17:45 , John Bowden

A spokesman for the White House responded after Josh Hawley indicated at Monday’s confirmation hearing for Ketanji Brown Jackson that he would question her sentencing history on child sex cases.

The Missouri Republican leveled a series of accusations last week alleging that Ms Jackson operated on a pattern of handing out far lower sentences for individuals convicted of possessing child pornography.

“NO mainstream media outlet has found Sen. Hawley's specious attack on Judge Jackson to be true -- AND he voted for judges who gave similar sentences as Judge Jackson,” wrote Ben LaBolt, an adviser on Supreme Court nominations to Joe Biden.

Hawley declines to go in on Jackson during opening statement

Monday 21 March 2022 17:27 , John Bowden

Sen Josh Hawley, who was expected to lead the far-right’s attacks against Ketanji Brown Jackson at this week’s hearings, declined to use his opening statement to enunciate the individual criticisms of Ms Jackson he leveled on Twitter last week.

Mr Hawley instead claimed that he was not “interested in trapping Judge Jackson. I’m not interested in playing gotcha,” and listed a number of cases he planned to ask the judge about during the upcoming question-and-answer period.

On her record, he appeared to preview a sharp line of attack in the days ahead: "There's a lot to talk about there".

Monday 21 March 2022 17:00 , John Bowden

President Joe Biden can thank Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for the smooth course to confirmation his first Supreme Court will likely see in the weeks ahead.

Here’s why, for all their criticism, the GOP will likely be unable to prevent Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation:

Why Republicans can oppose Ketanji Brown Jackson, but can’t stop her

Republicans trash ‘ugly’ Thomas, Kavanaugh hearings

Monday 21 March 2022 16:45 , John Bowden

Republicans accused Democrats of demeaning the Supreme Court nomination process on Monday, pointing to both the confirmations of Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas as examples of times when hearings veered off into personal attacks.

Sen Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican, and a number of senators on the committee hit their colleagues for everything from their complaints about the process to their past votes against nominees from GOP presidents.

Sen Ted Cruz issued some of the most vicious attacks, accusing Democrats of weaponising Ketanji Brown Jackson’s status as the first Black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court as a cudgel against any senators who would seek to question her record.

Referencing the sexual assault allegations that nearly derailed Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, he told Ms Brown: “No one is going to inquire into your teenage dating habits. No one is going to ask you with mock severity, 'Do you like beer?'"

Photos: Supporters of Judge Jackson gather outside Supreme Court

Monday 21 March 2022 16:42 , David Taintor

Supporters of Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson gather outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on March 21, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)
Supporters of Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson gather outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on March 21, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)

Supporters gather in and outside Senate for Supreme Court hearings

Monday 21 March 2022 16:09 , John Bowden

Supporters of Ketanji Brown Jackson were both outside the Senate and inside the hearing room on Monday as the nation’s first female Black nominee to the Supreme Court began her historic confirmation process.

Among those who made it in to the gallery on Monday were NAACP general counsel Janette McCarthy Wallace.

“Today, I can’t help but think of my predecessor, the Honorable Thurgood Marshall as we celebrate a new era, an era of inclusion in the Highest Court of the Land,” she said in a statement congratulating Ms Jackson which referenced the first Black justice on the Court’s bench.

Senator praises Ketanji Brown Jackson’s public defender experience

Monday 21 March 2022 16:01 , John Bowden

Sen Patrick Leahy of Vermont, a Democrat, praised Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s history as a public defender, which has earned her criticism from the Republican National Committee.

Mr Leahy commented on Ms Jackson’s record and called her time as a defense attorney “[i]mportant experience given how much the Court shapes our criminal justice system”.

Grassley defends GOP tactics under criticism from Durbin

Monday 21 March 2022 15:39 , John Bowden

Sen Chuck Grassley, the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, claimed that his party would seek to keep things civil at the hearings of Ketanji Brown Jackson after the panel’s chairman accused one GOP member of doing exactly the opposite.

Mr Grassley launched his own attacks against Democrats on the panel, blaming them for interrupting him during the hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh and for the complains from Democrats about the confirmation process under GOP control.

“We won’t try to turn this into a spectacle based upon alleged process fouls,” said Mr Grassley. "We're off to a very good start. Unlike the start to the Kavanaugh hearings."

Chairman rejects GOP claims that they plan to keep hearings civil

Monday 21 March 2022 15:30 , John Bowden

Dick Durbin tore into one of his GOP counterparts during his opening remarks on Monday and told viewers that Republicans had already failed in their attempts to remain civil amid Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation process.

Referencing a slew of accusations of that Ms Jackson was supposedly “soft on crime” from Sen Josh Hawley, Mr Durbin said that the senator’s actions “fly in the face” of the pledge to remain civil that ranking Republican member Chuck Grassley would make in his own statement moments later.

“These baseless charges are unfair,” Mr Durbin added.

Durbin says Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination proves American Dream is alive

Monday 21 March 2022 15:26 , John Bowden

Sen Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, gave the first opening statement at Monday’s confirmation hearing for Ketanji Brown Jackson.

He concluded his speech by declaring that America was still a land of possibility, as evidenced by the nomination of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

"You are living witness to the fact that, in America, all is possible,” he told Ms Jackson.

Hearings to begin at 11

Monday 21 March 2022 14:44 , John Bowden

Hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court are set to begin at 11:00 a.m.

The hearings will be livestreamed as lawmakers of the Senate Judiciary Committee question Ms Jackson on her judicial record and legal philosophies.

Watch here:

Tim Kaine rejects Josh Hawley’s ‘wild claims’ about Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record

Monday 21 March 2022 13:58 , John Bowden

Sen Tim Kaine responded to Sen Josh Hawley in an interview with The Independent, calling his assertions about Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record “wild”.

The Virginia Democrat also responded to the claims of Republicans that Ms Jackson is “soft on crime”, which he called ridiculous in the face of her endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police.

Read more in The Independent:

Tim Kaine pans GOP’s ‘wild’ attack on Biden’s SCOTUS pick Ketanji Brown Jackson

Durbin on Hawley’s KBJ attacks

Monday 21 March 2022 13:38 , Andrew Naughtie

Dick Durbin, the Democratic chair of the Judiciary Committee, has laid into his Republican colleague Josh Hawley over the latter’s claims that Ms Brown Jackson has a record of being soft on child abusers – pointing out that Mr Hawley’s behaviour on 6 January 2021 leaves him in a difficult position when it comes to defending law and order.

Back and forth: Josh Hawley attacks nominee’s record on child sexual offenders

Monday 21 March 2022 13:07 , Andrew Naughtie

Because Ms Jackson’s confirmation would not substantially change the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court, Republican attacks on her were slow to develop and relatively mild compared to the frenzied atmosphere of the last two nomination processes.

That changed last week when Missouri Senator Josh Hawley launched an astonishing attack on the judge for supposedly being “soft” on child sexual offenders. This he did via a Twitter thread that offered precious little context for his claims; while other Republicans did not immediately join in, it has been reported that a document outlining a strategy to attack her on these grounds is circulating among GOP Judiciary Committee members.

Josh Hawley goes after Biden Supreme Court pick for record on sex offenders

The response from centrist and liberal commentators as well as Senate Democrats has ranged from appalled to derisory. Speaking to The Independent last week, Democrat Tim Kaine dismissed Mr Hawley’s remarks – and pointed out that Ms Jackson has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, rather undermining the claim she is soft on crime.

Tim Kaine pans GOP’s ‘wild’ attack on Biden’s SCOTUS pick Ketanji Brown Jackson

Profile: who is Joe Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee?

Monday 21 March 2022 12:37 , Andrew Naughtie

Aside from dissections of her past opinions and interrogations over how she’d approach hypothetical cases, Ketanji Brown Jackson is likely to face the nomination process’s other feature: a dive into her personal and professional background, one that often goes beyond judicial experience. (Recall Ted Cruz asking Amy Coney Barrett about piano lessons, or Lindsey Graham asking Jewish nominee Elena Kagan where she was on Christmas Day).

For those seeking more on Ms Jackson’s background before the cross-examination begins, here’s a quick profile from Andrew Feinberg and Sravasti Dasgupta.

Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson?

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record: key opinions

Monday 21 March 2022 12:06 , Andrew Naughtie

One of the main focuses of any Supreme Court confirmation process is the nominee’s record of writing judicial opinions, which offer the clearest look at their thinking. Among those Ketanji Brown Jackson has written are opinions on the limits of presidential power, government deportation policies, and relations between companies and unions.

Here’s a rundown of some of her most important rulings from the bench.

Notable opinions by high court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson