THE confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson gets underway today, and some Senators have already publicly questioned her experience.
Ketanji Brown Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden, and would be the first black woman on the Supreme Court if confirmed.
But some Republican representatives have already called some of her past work into question, with Senator Josh Hawley claiming on Twitter, for example, that Jackson “has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker.”
But barring a significant misstep by the 51-year-old Jackson, a federal judge for the past nine years, Democrats who control the Senate by the slimmest of margins intend to wrap up her confirmation before Easter.
Jackson is expected to present an opening statement Monday afternoon, then answer questions from the committee’s 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans over the next two days.
Last year, Jackson won Senate confirmation by a 53-44 vote, with three Republicans supporting her. It’s not clear how many Republicans might vote for her this time.
Read our Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation blog for the latest news and updates…
What are some of Jackson’s notable rulings?
In September of 2015, Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled that the DC Department of Corrections violated the rights of a deaf inmate under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Plus, the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to terminate grants for multiple teen pregnancy programs early was ruled as arbitrary and capricious by Jackson in two separate cases from April and June of 2018.
Jackson also blocked an agency rule for fast-tracking deportations from passing in September of 2019, finding the US Department of Homeland Security had violated the Administrative Procedure Act at the time.
Who is Justice Stephen Breyer?
If appointed, Ketanji Brown Jackson will replace Justice Breyer in the Supreme Court seat.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer was nominated by President Bill Clinton on May 17, 1994, and has served since August 3, 1994.
Breyer is associated with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court.
On January 26, reports of Breyer’s retirement first surfaced.
President Joe Biden called on Senators from both parties to help advise him in identifying Justice Stephen Breyer‘s replacement after his retirement.
According to the White House, Biden wanted a candidate with “exceptional credentials, unimpeachable character, and unwavering dedication to the rule of law.”
He also sought an individual who is dedicated to equal justice under the law.
As Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearings begin, another Supreme Court Justice has fallen sick and is currently in the hospital.
According to the court’s public information office, Court Justice Clarence Thomas was hospitalized Friday with “flu-like symptoms.”
“He underwent tests, was diagnosed with an infection and is being treated with intravenous antibiotics,” read the court’s press release.
Who is Clarence Thomas?
American lawyer Clarence Thomas was elected to the United States Supreme Court in 1991.
On October 30, 1989, Thomas was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by former President George HW Bush.
He was sworn in two years later as the second Black man on the high court.
George Washington socks
As Judge Jackson, 51, gave her 12-minute statement to the Committee on the first day of her confirmation hearings, her family sat behind her.
As her family sat behind her, Jackson’s husband could be seen wearing socks with George Washington’s likeness on them.
Judge Jackson has a unique understanding of the legal system because of her diverse background in public service, according to the White House‘s website.
The Judge has multiple law enforcement officials in her family, including her uncles and her brother.
“There is little doubt that she has the temperament, intellect, legal experience, and family background to have earned this appointment,” the Fraternal Order of Police said.
“We are reassured that, should she be confirmed, she would approach her future cases with an open mind and treat issues related to law enforcement fairly and justly.”
‘Difficult to demonize’
CNN’s David Axelrod posted his reaction to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s opening remarks at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing just after it started.
The political commentator said that the Judge’s personal story will make her “a difficult person to demonize.”
Was Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed today?
Ketanji Brown Jackson gave her opening statement today, and so did several Senators who are part of the committee evaluating her nomination.
She is not expected to actually be confirmed for several days yet.
Democrats who control the Senate are hoping to wrap up her confirmation before Easter.
‘Without fear or favor’
Ketanji Brown Jackson delivered her opening statement on Monday.
“I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that
responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously,” she said.
“I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath.”
You can read the prepared remarks for her opening statement here.
Jackson thanks committee
“Thank you for this historic chance to join the highest court, to work with brilliant colleagues, to inspire future generations and to ensure liberty and justice for all,” Ketanji Brown Jackson thanked the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday during her opening statement.
Biden advocates for Jackson confirmation
On Twitter, President Joe Biden advocated for Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation on Monday.
“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a brilliant legal mind with the utmost character and integrity,” he wrote.
“She deserves to be confirmed as the next Justice of the Supreme Court.”
Hearings concluded for Monday
At 3.37pm ET, the first day of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing concluded, NBC News reported.
Jackson won’t appear on Thursday
Although the proceedings are expected to take up a few days this week, Ketanji Brown Jackson won’t appear on the last day of the confirmation hearings, NPR noted.
Instead, the committee will hear from outside witnesses and the American Bar Association that morning.
‘We are witnessing a breakdown of society’
“We are witnessing a breakdown of society,” Senator Tom Cotton said in his opening statement during the confirmation hearing on Monday.
“There are many Americans who no longer feel safe today, parents are scared to walk down the streets that used to be free from crime.”
He noted that he will look into Ketanji Brown Jackson’s history of rulings on crime to consider her nomination.
“If Judge Jackson is confirmed, her decisions will have a direct impact on the safety of the American people,” he said.
“So we’re going to look at her past decisions and her statements because the best predictor of future performance is past performance.”
Sen Hawley’s concerns
He brought up those concerns during his opening remarks on Monday, stating, “What concerns me is that in every case … she handed down a lenient sentence below what the federal guidelines recommended and below what prosecutors recommended.”
Sen Graham questions nomination, continued
Senator Graham then referenced Arabella, a “liberal dark money group,” according to NBC News, suggesting that it worked to stop US District Judge J Michelle Childs from getting nominated in favor of Jackson instead.
“What is it about your nomination that the most liberal people under the umbrella of Arabella threw in their money, their time, their time, their sport and threatened Joe Biden if he picked Judge Childs. I want to know more about that,” Graham said.
Senator Lindsey Graham questions nomination
In opening remarks, Senator Lindsey Graham questioned Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination.
“So you say, Judge Jackson, you don’t have any judicial philosophy, per se,” said Senator Graham, according to NBC News.
“Well, somebody on the left thinks you do or they wouldn’t have spent the money they spent to have you in this chair.”
Ketanji Brown Jackson was set to give an opening statement on Monday and then to take questions from lawmakers on Tuesday and Wednesday, NPR reported.
There is then a period of time in which the nomination is considered, which usually takes about a week.
Then, the committee will hold a vote, and if Jackson is approved, the nomination will be sent to the full Senate for consideration.
When will the confirmation process be done?
The confirmation process began this week.
Democrats hope to finish Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation process before Congress leaves for Easter recess on April 11.
Senators on the Judiciary Committee are expected to give opening statements on Monday, and Ketanji Brown Jackson will do the same.
She will then face questions from lawmakers Tuesday and Wednesday.
The hearings, led by the Senate Judiciary Committee, could last for four days, NPR reported.
Jackson prepped for weeks
Ketanji Brown Jackson prepped for her confirmation hearing for weeks, two sources told NBC News.
Under the guidance of the White House counsel’s office, “she studied core issues and rulings and participated in mock hearings,” the outlet reported.
She also did a walkthrough of the hearing room on Capitol Hill on Saturday.
Ketanji Brown Jackson seated for questioning
Ketanji Brown Jackson has been seated to begin questioning in her confirmation hearing.
The hearing is expected to last at least two days.