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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his counterparts from nine other states on Monday signed an open letter to the US Senate opposing Supreme Court nominee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson over what they say is a record several years of leniency towards criminals who possess child pornography.
The ten state attorneys general signed the letter addressed to Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
In their letter, state attorneys general alleged that Jackson, during his decade-long tenure as a federal district court judge, convicted the attackers well below accepted federal guidelines while rejecting the victims.
They cited three court cases that they say demonstrate Brown Jackson’s “disturbing history” of siding with “sex predators.” They also pointed to a 1996 Harvard Law Review memo in which it argued that community notification requirements for sex offenders were unfairly punitive to criminals.
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During his work at the U.S. Sentencing Commission, AGs noted, Brown Jackson said the “current mandatory minimum sentencing system” for people who share images of child pornography “may be overly harsh. “.
The AGs said Jackson’s history of being soft on crime suggests, on a deeper level, a supposed “disregard for prosecutors’ recommendation and the political process.”
“[I]It is an insult to the victims of child exploitation, who are re-victimized every time one of Judge Jackson’s pre-released criminals sees, copies, shares or talks about these images,” the AGs wrote.
The attorneys general said Brown’s replacement of Justice Stephen Breyer was not just replacing one liberal with another, but “replacing an old-school progressive with a modern leftist who had shown shocking leniency toward child pornographers”.
“The United States Senate should do its job and protect the American people from this dangerous candidate,” they said.
In addition to Paxton, the letter was signed by attorneys general Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas, Lwarence Wasden of Idaho, Todd Rokita of Indiana, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Austin Knudsen of Montana , John O’Connor of Oklahoma, Alan Wilson of South Carolina and Jason Ravnsborg of South Dakota.
Jackson is set to make history as the third black judge and only sixth woman in the court’s history.
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During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the issue of Jackson’s conviction in child pornography cases was the GOP’s biggest and toughest line of questioning. GOP Sense. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina all raised the issue during sometimes confrontational questioning during his confirmation hearings.
The Biden administration and Democrats have pushed back against those allegations, noting that his sentences are in line with those of other federal judges. They also touted her endorsement of police organizations like the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police to counter the idea that she’s been too soft on criminals.
Jackson defended his sentences, saying the current child pornography guidelines were originally created when offenders sent individual images in the mail, but computers have dramatically changed the landscape.
Thousands of images can be distributed “with one click,” Jackson said. Judges rely on the system created by Congress “to be rational in our treatment of some of the most horrific types of behavior.”
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“You can do this for 15 minutes, and all of a sudden you’re looking at 30, 40, 50 years in prison,” Jackson said during his testimony, noting that “every single person in all of these discussions and documents that I sent to jail because I know how serious this crime is.”
Marisa Schultz and Tyler Olson of Fox News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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