Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court, heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the road to her historic confirmation seems clear.
The commission hearings begin Monday for 51-year-old Jackson, a federal judge for the past nine years. She is expected to present an opening statement late in the day and then answer questions from the committee’s 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans over the next two days.
She appeared before the same committee last year, after President Joe Biden selected her to fill a vacancy on the Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, near the Supreme Court.
Her testimony will give most Americans, as well as the Senate, their most comprehensive look yet at the Harvard-trained attorney with a resume that spans two years as a federal public defender. That makes her the first nominee with significant criminal defense experience since Thurgood Marshall, the first black American to serve on the nation’s highest court.
The American Bar Association, which judges judicial nominees, gave Jackson its highest rating on Friday, unanimously “well qualified.”
Janette McCarthy Wallace, general counsel for the NAACP, said she is excited to see a black woman on the edge of a Supreme Court seat.
“Representation is important,” Wallace said. “Having diverse experience in the bench is critical. It should reflect the rich cultural diversity of this country.”
It’s not yet clear how aggressively Republicans will go after Jackson, as her confirmation wouldn’t change the court’s conservative 6-3 majority.
Still, some Republicans have indicated that they could use Jackson’s nomination to try to brand Democrats soft on crime, an emerging theme in the GOP’s midterm election campaigns. Biden has elected several former public defenders to lifelong judicial posts. In addition, Jackson was a member of the US Sentencing Commission, an independent agency created by Congress to reduce inequality in federal prison terms.
sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., highlighted a possible attack line. “I’ve noticed an alarming pattern when it comes to Judge Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders, especially those who prey on children,” Hawley wrote on Twitter last week in a thread echoed by the Republican National Committee. Hawley didn’t bring up the issue when he questioned Jackson last year before voting against her appeals court’s confirmation.
The White House vigorously opposed criticism as “toxic and weakly presented misinformation.” Sentencing expert Douglas Berman, an Ohio law professor, wrote on his blog that Jackson’s track record shows her skepticism about the range of jail terms recommended for child pornography cases, “but so have prosecutors in most of the cases.” her cases and so do district judges across the country.”
Hawley is one of the committee’s many Republicans, along with Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who are potential presidential candidates for 2024, and their ambitions could clash with other Republicans who wouldn’t be as quick to push for a scorched earth approach to Jackson’s nomination.
Biden chose Jackson in February, fulfilling a campaign promise to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court for the first time in US history. She would take the seat of Judge Stephen Breyer, who announced in January that he would retire this summer after 28 years on the court.
Jackson once worked as a clerk for Breyer early in her legal career.
Democrats who control the Senate by the narrowest margins are moving quickly to confirm Jackson, even though Breyer’s seat won’t officially open until the summer. They run out of votes in a 50-50 Senate they’re running thanks to the casting vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
But they’re not moving as fast as the Republicans did when they installed Amy Comey Barrett on court, just over a month after Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and days before the 2020 presidential election.
Barrett, the third in President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court presidential election, anchored the court’s conservative majority when she took the place of liberal Ginsburg.
Last year, Jackson won the Senate confirmation by 53-44 votes, with three Republicans backing her. It’s not clear how many Republicans will vote for her this time.
Jackson is married to Patrick Johnson, a surgeon in Washington. They have two daughters, one in college and the other in high school. She is related by marriage to former Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who was also the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate. Ryan has expressed his support for Jackson’s nomination.
Jackson has spoken about how her kids have kept her in touch with reality, even though she’s been holding a judge’s gavel since 2013. tell them to do it.”
But at home, her daughters make “very clear that I don’t know anything, that I shouldn’t tell them anything, let alone give them orders, at least if they’re talking to me at all,” Jackson said.
This post History-making Ketanji Brown Jackson ready for Supreme Court Senate hearing
was original published at “https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/20/history-making-jackson-set-for-senate-hearing-for-high-court-.html”