The third day of Ketanji Brown JacksonConfirmation hearings will begin soon, and Senate Judiciary Committee members will continue to question the Supreme Court nominee.
On Tuesday, Jackson’s first day of questioning included explanations of her approach as a judge, discussions of abstract legal concepts that could be pivotal in the cases. The Supreme Court’s controversial verdict and her defense of the sentencing record Republicans have claimed were not harsh enough. certain crime.
Democrats gave Jackson ample opportunity to repel the GOP attacks, while allowing her to discuss the context that would make her a unique addition to the Supreme Court.
Republicans, who on Monday vowed to take a high stance during the proceedings, however, she spoke of issues that resonate with their culture war messages ahead of this year’s midterms .
Here are some key takeaways from Tuesday’s session:
Jackson offers a view on how she approaches her work: Faced with the GOP’s skepticism for not conforming to a particular judicial philosophy, Jackson offered new details about how she approaches her work and the “methodology” she uses. to decide a case.
“I am acutely aware that as a judge in our system I have limited powers and I am trying in every case to stand my ground,” she said.
The three-step process she describes involves clearing the mind of any preconceptions about the case, getting different inputs – the summary, the factual file, the hearings – she She will need to decide on a case and begin interpreting the law regarding the “bindings” to her role as judge.
She says she’s trying to “find words that make sense as they were intended by the people who wrote them.”
Jackson countered the claims about her record in child pornography cases: The judge finally had a chance on Tuesday to settle the most controversial charges against her, telling the committee of claims she was soft on child pornography that “nothing may be further from the truth.”
“These are some of the hardest cases a judge has to deal with,” Jackson said when she was first given the opportunity by Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin to respond to statements made by Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri GOP launched last week.
Later in the hearing, she said that she still has nightmares about the witness in one of the cases that Republicans are currently under scrutiny, adding, “These crimes, they’re horrible. And so I take them very seriously, just like I’ve done all sorts of crimes, especially child abuse.”
Republicans have failed to heed what they say is Jackson’s propensity to deliver sentences in these cases below sentencing guidelines — a stereotype that brings her into the mainstream. of the judges. Less than a third of convictions issued in non-manufacturing child pornography cases were covered by the 2019 guidelines.
When she was courted by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, Jackson noted that the guidelines were only a starting point for judges.
GOP focuses on pre-midterm culture war issues: The widespread culture war topics that Republicans are rattling Democrats ahead of the midterms have become GOP questions for Jackson.
Cruz, for example, asked Jackson some questions about “critical race theory” — a concept that Jackson said “doesn’t come up in my work.”
“It was never something that I researched or relied on, and it would not be something that I would rely on if I were on the Supreme Court,” she said.
Cruz tried to connect it with Jackson through a presentation she gave as vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, in which Jackson said she listed it among “the laundry books are different disciplines that I say are related to sentencing policy.” He also raised it in the context of children’s books taught at Georgetown Day School, where Jackson is on the board. Jackson says the board does not control the school’s curriculum.
The abstract questions try to suggest how she approaches controversial cases: GOP senators probed Jackson’s approach to abstract legal ideas that sound academic but could be a key factor in how she decides on controversial cases.
Cornyn coined the concept of “unlisted rights” – meaning rights that are not explicitly enshrined in the text of the Constitution but which the courts have interpreted as falling within the scope of the Constitution’s protections.
Utah Senator Mike Lee also focused some of his questions on the Ninth Amendment. Its language referred to undeserved rights, and he asked Jackson how the judges would weigh in. what rights may arise from it.