Jackson has been asked many times about her judicial philosophy today. This is what that means.

Senator John Cornyn watched Senator Lindsey Graham question Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Senator John Cornyn watched Senator Lindsey Graham question Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday. (Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Supreme Court Candidate Ketanji Brown Jackson was criticized on Tuesday by two Republican senators for language they allege she has used in the past while challenging the indefinite detention of clients in uncharged custody at Guantanamo Bay military prison.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina alleges that Jackson went “too far,” he claimed, calling the government a “war criminal pursuing charges against a terrorist.” GOP Senator John Cornyn of Texas asked Jackson “why in the world,” while representing a member of the Taliban, “would you call Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and George W. Bush war criminals in the legal documents? It seems very unusual to you. ”

First event: Both Graham and Cornyn omit important context. Specifically, neither of them mentioned that Jackson’s allegation of war crimes was about torture. In addition, Jackson did not use the phrase “war criminal” explicitly.

Here’s what happened.

While serving as a Federal defender from 2005 to 2007, Jackson was assigned to the case of 4 people detained at Guantanamo Bay. (“Federal public defenders are not allowed to choose their clients,” she note in a hearing on Tuesday.) in habeas corpus request she applied with a colleague in 2005 on behalf of four clients – after the Supreme Court rule that those detained at Guantanamo could contest the lawfulness of their detention in US federal courts – Jackson argued that detainees were tortured and inhumanely treated other.

Jackson and her colleagues then argued that the actions of the “respondents” in the United States that they named in their lawsuit – acts they described as “directing, ordering, confirm, approve and/or conspire to introduce torture and other inhumane treatment” – “constitutes war crimes and/or crimes against humanity” According to the Alien Torture Regulations and that they violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Bush and Rumsfeld are two of four respondents to whom Jackson and her colleagues are named in each filing, along with two commanders at Guantanamo. However, Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor, legal analyst and CNN military justice expert, says that since…rules because these types of records essentially require the President and Secretary of Defense to be named as responders – Jackson’s records clearly show that Bush and Rumsfeld are being sued in their official capacity – “a bit erroneously assuming that the claims in that action are necessarily statements about the individual named respondent.”

Jackson and her colleagues noted in each filing that “all references” to respondent actions were intended to include actions taken by “representatives or employees.” respondents, government agencies or other employees or contractors”. A White House official said in an email Tuesday that “Judge Jackson never filed a lawsuit accusing President Bush or Secretary Rumsfeld of being a war criminal.”

In her response to Graham, Jackson said that she did not remember accusing the government of acting as a war criminal but that, in the habeas petition, she “made the allegation to protect defend matters on behalf of my clients”. In response to Cornyn, she said she was making arguments on behalf of her client, would have to look at the specifics of what he was saying, and had “no intention to disparage the President.” or the Secretary of Defense.”

Not available of Jackson’s four Guantanamo clients were convicted. Each of them was eventually released from Guantanamo.

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