Witnesses testify on fourth day of Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings

Washington — The Senate Judiciary Committee is convening Thursday for the fourth and final day of confirmation hearings for the judge ketanji brown jacksonNominations to the Supreme Court, where senators will hear from outside experts and witnesses.

Jackson, 51, will be the first black woman to be confirmed in a high court if approved by the Senate. She took questions from senators Tuesday and Wednesday for two marathon days of questioning, in which Republicans pressured her to interpret sentencing decisions in a number of child pornography cases during her time as a federal judge on US district court. inserted. Jackson repeatedly defended his record, explaining his approach to the cases and refuting suggestions that he imposed lenient sentences.

Judiciary committee chairman Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, said at the start of the day’s proceedings, “Some of the attacks on this judge were unfair, unreliable, and below the dignity of the United States Senate.” “You can disagree with a senator’s vote. You can disagree with a judge’s decision. But drawing conclusions that really reflect personally and on their values ​​and taking it to an extreme is unfair regardless of whether the candidate is a Democrat. Or be a Republican.”

Thursday’s hearing includes three representatives from the American Bar Association (ABA) and a panel of outside witnesses convened by Democratic and Republican members.

ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which evaluates the qualifications of all federal judicial nominees, unanimously assessed Jackson was declared “well qualified” to serve on the Supreme Court.

Ann Claire Williams, a retired federal judge and chair of the ABA committee, told the judiciary panel that the assessors spoke with 250 judges and attorneys with prior experience working with Jackson. Some of the words described here were “brilliant,” “beyond blasphemy,” “first-rate,” “even-handed,” and “impeccable,” she said.

“We kept asking ourselves the same question, how can a human being do something so exceptionally well?” Williams said.

Among the areas examined by ABA officials was the belief that he harbored a bias favoring criminal defendants, claims that were aligned with Republican efforts to portray Jackson as soft on the crime.

“Notably, none of the judges, defense attorneys or prosecutors expressed any concern in this regard, and they equally dismissed any allegation of favoritism,” said Jean Veta, a member of the ABA panel. .

10 out of 11 Republicans are on the committee on Wednesday requested access For a pre-sentence report prepared by the defendant’s probation officer and given to a judge before sentencing. Reports are filed under seal, as they contain highly sensitive information, including information about the victims.

Jackson has repeatedly told senators that he does not have access to all of the filings that inform him of sentencing decisions. The request prompted controversy between Republicans and Durbin, who said they resisted requests from GOP members to see pre-sentence reports on about seven of the cases they raised.

“The information contained in these reports is dangerous, dangerous for the victims, and for the innocent people who are mentioned in these reports and is unnecessary at this point,” Durbin said. “This is the only fishing operation in a dangerous area. Classified settings, revised version of the report, have never happened in the history of this committee.”

Harvard graduate Jackson said if confirmed, she would recuse herself from the case during the next term Harvard’s Admissions Policies, He is currently serving on the Board of Overseers, and has faced calls to recuse himself in the matter.

Meanwhile, Democrats continued to praise Jackson on Wednesday. Democratic Senator Cory Booker, who is also black, emotionally spoke about how much it meant to him to see a black woman on court. Jackson was seen wiping his eyes as he spoke.

“I’m sorry, you are a person who is so much more than your race and gender,” Booker said. “You’re a Christian, you’re a mother, you’re an intellect, you love books. But for me, I’m sorry, it’s hard for me not to see you and not to see my mother, not to see My cousin, one of those who had to come here and sit behind you. He patted your back. I see my ancestors in you. No one will steal the happiness of that lady in the street, or the call I’m making , or texts. No one is going to steal that joy.”

President Biden last month nominated Jackson to replace Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who, at 83, is the oldest Supreme Court justice. Breyer will retire at the end of this period.

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