Biden’s Supreme Court pick Jackson acknowledges his selection history, promises to be ‘independent’

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President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson said Monday she would respect the boundaries of her job as a judge if confirmed, and acknowledged the story behind her nomination to the court as a black woman. .

“During this hearing, I hope you will see how much I love our country, the Constitution and the rights that set us free,” Jackson told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I stand on the shoulders of so many who have come before me, including Justice Constance Baker Motley, who was the first African-American woman to be appointed to the federal bench and with whom I share a birthday.”

Jackson added: “Like Justice Motley, I have dedicated my career to ensuring that the words carved into the facade of the Supreme Court building, ‘Equal Justice Under Law,’ are a reality and not just an ideal. ”

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson listens to opening statements during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson listens to opening statements during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

GRAHAM SLAMS ‘VICIOUS’ LIBERAL EFFORT TO ‘TAKE DOWN’ CHILDREN, CHOOSE JACKSON FOR SUPREME COURT

Jackson made the comments in his opening statement during his confirmation hearing, which will continue through Thursday, including questioning of senators on Wednesday and Thursday.

Jackson also thanked several members of his family, including his parents, brother, in-laws, husband and daughters.

“My parents taught me that unlike the many obstacles they faced growing up, my path was clearer,” she said. “While if I worked hard and believed in myself and in America, I could do anything or be anything I wanted to be.”

Jackson further praised Judge Stephen Breyer, for whom she previously served as clerk and whom she will replace if confirmed.

“Justice Breyer in particular has not only given me the best job a young lawyer could hope for, but he also exemplifies what it means to be a Supreme Court justice of the highest standard of skill and integrity, of civility and grace,” she said. “It is extremely humbling to be considered for the seat of Judge Breyer, and I know I can never fill his shoes. But if he is confirmed, I hope to carry on his spirit.

United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer holds a copy of the United States Constitution as Breyer announces he will retire at the end of the court's current term, at the White House in Washington, USA United, January 27, 2022. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque

United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer holds a copy of the United States Constitution as Breyer announces he will retire at the end of the court’s current term, at the White House in Washington, USA United, January 27, 2022. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
(REUTERS/Kévin Lamarque)

Jackson also pledged to uphold the limits on the judiciary, including neutrality.

“If confirmed, I pledge to you that I will work productively to uphold and defend the Constitution and this great experiment in American democracy that has endured for 246 years,” she said. “I have been a judge for almost a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty of independence very seriously.”

She added: “I know that my role as a judge is limited, that the Constitution only gives me the power to decide cases and controversies that are properly presented. And I know that my judicial role is still limited by the scrupulous respect for precedents”.

Jackson’s comments followed presentations by former DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Griffith and University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School professor Lisa Fairfax. Griffith is notably considered a conservative legal luminary and was appointed by former President George W. Bush.

JUDGE JACKSON CAN GET REPUBLICAN VOTES: AG BILL BARR

“I have had many opportunities to return to review his work and observe his work over the years as a judge, and on several occasions I have reviewed his decisions on appeal,” Griffith said. “Although we did not always agree on the outcome the law required, I respected his diligent and careful approach, his deep understanding and his collegial manner, traits essential to success as a Supreme Court justice.”

Supreme Court nominee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson greets Sen. Cory Booker, D.N.J., as she arrives for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, March 21, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington .  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Supreme Court nominee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson greets Sen. Cory Booker, D.N.J., as she arrives for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, March 21, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington . (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Fairfax has been friends with Jackson since law school and praised her as the kind of person who is “the first call you make for career advice until the first knock you hear at the door after learning that you have been diagnosed with cancer”.

Meanwhile, several senators have acknowledged the historic nature of Jackson’s appointment.

“The arc of the moral universe is long and it bends toward justice,” said Sen. Cory Booker, DN.J. “Well, today America is witnessing the literal bending of the arc.”

“Judge Jackson, you know, with your presence here today, you are writing a new page in American history, a good page,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

“I’ve said this in the past, and I think it’s good for the court to look like America. So count on me for the idea of ​​making the court more diverse,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C.

Supreme Court nominee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson gestures during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, March 21, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Supreme Court nominee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson gestures during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, March 21, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

REPUBLICANS LAY GROUNDS FOR ATTACKS AT HISTORIC JACKSON CONFIRMATION HEARING, DEMOCRATS DEFEND CANDIDATE

Jackson’s comments came after more than four hours of opening statements by senators in which Republicans appeared to lay the groundwork for attacks on Jackson’s record and Democrats preemptively set up their defenses.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., named several child pornography cases Jackson faced when she was a federal district judge. He pointed out that in each of those cases, Jackson sentenced the defendant more lightly than the federal sentencing guidelines recommended or the federal prosecutors requested. In fact, some of the sentences were the lightest allowed by law, Hawley said.

“Some have said the federal sentencing guidelines are too harsh for child sex crimes…I can’t say I agree with that,” Hawley said.

United States Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) meets with United States Supreme Court nominee and Federal Court of Appeals Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, in his office at the United States Capitol in Washington, USA , March 9, 2022. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein

United States Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) meets with United States Supreme Court nominee and Federal Court of Appeals Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, in his office at the United States Capitol in Washington, USA , March 9, 2022. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein
(REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

COLLINS CALLS SUPREME COURT PICK JACKSON ‘AWESOME’ AFTER MEETING BUT REMAINS UNDECIDED

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, complained about delays in obtaining documents about Jackson’s time at the U.S. Sentencing Commission and said the most important thing he looks for in a candidate is ” judicial philosophy”.

“The courts are not vested with decision-making power. According to our Constitution, the courts hear cases and controversies and decide them. Nothing more, nothing less,” added Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “It’s an important distinction to remember in the days ahead.”

Democrats, meanwhile, alleged that Republicans were out of touch with those attacks.

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“There is simply no evidence to support these baseless attacks,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

“Judge Jackson is not a judicial activist. She is not a puppet of the so-called radical left. She has been praised by Republican-appointed judges for her jurisprudence,” Leahy said.

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