Tuesday’s first full day of questioning for Supreme Court nominee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson quickly tackled some very big questions about judicial philosophy, terrorism and race, a grueling marathon of debates over President Biden’s historic choice. .
The senators wanted to know her approach to the law, her views on ‘courting’ and her response to Republican Senator Josh Hawley’s claims that she has been too lenient in sentencing child porn offenders and is generally lenient towards criminality.
At one point, Jackson simply stopped and sighed before responding to Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who pulled out children’s books to ask the Harvard-educated lawyer about his views on teaching the academic subject. critical race theory.
Democrats have the potential votes in the Senate 50-50 to confirm Jackson as Biden’s choice to replace retired Justice Stephen Breyer even if all Republicans oppose. His nomination is on track for a vote at Easter.
“STAY IN MY LANE”
With Jackson undeniably well qualified to be a Supreme Court justice, senators say, the question then becomes what her judicial philosophy is – will she be an activist judge, trying to set policy, or someone who buys into strict interpretations of the law?
“I try to stay in my lane anyway,” Jackson told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
GENTLE ON CRIME?
Some Republican senators view Jackson’s treatment of the defendants as one of their strongest arguments against her.
Hawley, R-Mo., set the tone before the hearings even began, raising concerns that Jackson gave the child pornography defendants lighter sentences than necessary. Cruz and other Republicans piled on.
On Tuesday, Jackson said flatly, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
She later supported his work representing terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay as a federal public defender, saying the service guaranteed due process. And she spoke more personally about her own family’s work in law enforcement and what it’s like to worry about their safety.
CRUZ AND ‘ANTI-RACIST BABY’
Cruz moved from legal arguments to heated debates over critical race theory, a field of academic study that examines the role of race in the founding of the United States.
Showcasing a stack of books on racism from the reading list of Georgetown Day School, a prestigious private campus where Jackson sits on the board, Cruz grilled the contestant for her perspective on the subject.
“I have never studied critical race theory and have never used it. It doesn’t show up in the work that I do as a judge,” Jackson told Cruz.
Cruz produced a poster-sized page of “Antiracist Baby” by famed scholar Ibram X. Kendi and asked, “Do you agree with this book that teaches children that babies are racist?”
“Senator,” Jackson said with a sigh. “I don’t believe a child should feel racist,” she said.
She explained that Georgetown was founded in 1945 during legal segregation, when white and black families came together to raise their children. The board does not make decisions about the program.
Cruz and Jackson both attended Harvard Law, a year apart, and said they knew each other, but not very well.