On eve of Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings, GOP steps up attacks

Follow the latest updates on Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings . WASHINGTON — Republicans are steppin...

Follow the latest updates on Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

WASHINGTON — Republicans are stepping up their attacks on Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson after weeks of publicly booking judgment on President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee ahead of landmark hearings on the first black woman to be nominated as a judge.

republican leaders, wary of engaging in a potentially racist show who could provoke a political backlash, promised a more dignified consideration of the latest Supreme Court nominee, after a series of bitter clashes over the court. But in recent days, as the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on his nomination begin Monday, their tone has changed.

Last week, Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri who sits on the panel and will question Judge Jackson, claimed her review of her court record determined that she had been lenient in sentencing some sex offenders and those convicted of possession of child pornography. He also suggested that as a member of the United States Sentencing Commission, she was working to reduce sentences for people caught with child pornography. A detailed briefing paper prepared for the Judiciary Committee presented a similar case.

Meanwhile, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and Minority Leader, doubled down on his suggestion that Judge Jackson’s experience as a public defender could influence her view of the law and lead her to favor the accused.

“His supporters look at his resume and infer a special empathy for criminals,” Mr McConnell said in a lengthy floor speech in which he argued his work on behalf of the defendant was a stain on his record. “I guess that means government prosecutors and innocent victims of crime start every trial at a disadvantage.”

Judge Jackson’s increasingly hostile critics suggest her confirmation hearings may not be the sober, drama-free proceedings many had anticipated when she was named to replace Judge Stephen G. Breyer, who announced that he would retire at the end of the court. mandate in progress this summer.

His confirmation would not change the ideological composition of the court, which is tilted 6-3 to the conservatives. And Judge Jackson has already been confirmed three times by the Senate for two judgeships and a spot on the sentencing commission. Nothing appeared on these occasions to prevent its approval. Republicans admit she has the legal experience and credentials needed for the lifelong position.

Mr Hawley, who is seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate and did not vote for a single Biden administration judicial nominee, was never seen as a likely supporter of Judge Jackson. Still, her detailed dismantling of her sex crimes record has sparked concern among Democrats, who fear it will deter some Republicans who plan to support her, or even rattle some senators from their own party, all of whom will likely be needed to gain confirmation.

The White House and Senate Democrats pushed back forcefully, accusing Mr Hawley of intentionally spreading misleading information and taking information out of context to paint a distorted picture of Judge Jackson’s case.

“Attempts to smear or discredit his story and his work are not borne out by the facts,” said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary.

Administration and Senate officials say Judge Jackson’s sentences in the pornography cases were at or above probation officials’ recommendations and comparable to what other federal judges were handing down under guidelines considered to be very high. obsolete. They also point to his strong support from law enforcement and prominent police officials.

“These individuals would be surprised to learn that they are supposedly ‘soft on crime,'” said Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman who worked on the confirmation. He called Mr Hawley’s claims “poisonous, weakly presented misinformation that relies on taking selected material from his case out of context – and which slips away under the lightest scrutiny”.

As for criticism of the sentencing commission, the White House and Senate Democrats note that the sentencing recommendations it made during Judge Jackson’s tenure were unanimously approved by the bipartisan panel, with members nominated by the presidents of both parties and ultimately accepted by Congress.

A Republican-appointed jurist who served on the panel with Judge Jackson, Judge William H. Pryor Jr., Chief Justice of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, confirmed that the commission’s recommendations were almost uniformly supported by all of its members as the panel sought to eliminate disparities and improve sentencing. .

“We worked by consensus, and that’s the tradition of the sentencing commission,” he said in an interview. “Virtually all of our votes were unanimous and data-driven.”

Judge Jackson’s service as a federal public defender and her work for certain detainees held at the US prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was always going to be an issue in her confirmation. But Mr. Hawley’s indictment added a new element to the debate, focusing more on his time as a federal district court judge and sentencing commissioner. Other Republican members said they intended to pursue the matter with Judge Jackson.

The days of broad bipartisan support for Supreme Court nominees are long gone, but Democrats remained hopeful Justice Jackson could get at least a handful of Republican votes given her experience and the possibility that some would like to be counted in favor of placing a Black woman in the field.

But only three Republicans backed her last year when she was upheld on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and persuading senators to back a higher court nominee after the to have opposed in a lower court is a difficult task.

Yet Judge Jackson, accompanied by her White House entourage, embarked on a charm offensive in the Senate, meeting with 44 senators from both parties and the 22 members of the equally divided Judiciary Committee.

Democrats have praised and supported Judge Jackson, calling her an ideal candidate for the court with the ability to work with other judges to try to develop more consensual rulings.

Republicans who have met her privately report that she is very engaging, presents a memorable life story, and speaks with admiration of Justice Antonin Scalia’s view that judges should interpret, not make, the law. But they say they have also been frustrated by his reluctance to articulate a specific judicial philosophy and his refusal to take a stand on whether to expand the Supreme Court, as progressive groups have proposed.

She will be pressed on these topics and more during the senators’ questioning on Tuesday and Wednesday, after a session on Monday in which each of them will make statements, Judge Jackson will be introduced and she will make opening remarks.

Despite the historic nature of his nomination, Supreme Court confirmations have become intense fights, and the recent change in tone among Republicans suggests that this week’s proceedings could be no different.

Given the court’s growing role in settling political and social issues, activists on both sides of the ideological spectrum are deeply invested in its composition. Democrats are still livid about Republicans’ blocking of Merrick B. Garland, President Barack Obama’s 2016 nominee on the court, and how quickly they managed to win confirmation from Judge Amy Coney Barrett, l former choice of former President Donald J. Trump, just before he lost the 2020 election.

Republicans remain angry over Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, which have been marred by sexual assault allegations.

Against this backdrop, Senate veterans say a fight against Judge Jackson is likely inevitable.

“It’s a fact that we now live in very partisan times,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which will oversee a High Court confirmation for the first time. .

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Newsrust - US Top News: On eve of Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings, GOP steps up attacks
On eve of Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings, GOP steps up attacks
Newsrust - US Top News
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