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Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., sparked a firestorm of backlash with a March 16 Twitter thread in which he raised questions about President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Last week, Hawley pointed out Jackson’s record as a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission and argued in a thread spanning 18 tweets that she used to “let juvenile porn offenders off the hook”.
Hawley received a fierce backlash from the Biden administration and mainstream media in response to his Twitter feed.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed Hawley’s objections, saying last week: “I’m not sure anyone who refused to tell people whether or not they would vote for Roy Moore to be an effective and credible messenger on this.”
Echoing PSAKI, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates noted: “This is toxic, weakly presented misinformation that relies on taking selected elements of its dossier out of context – and it distorts under the lightest scrutiny.”
White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain called Hawley’s concerns a “false attack” and a “slop,” in connection with a Washington Post fact check that gave the senator “three Pinocchios.”
Elie Mystal, who is a justice correspondent for “The Nation,” went so far as to claim that Hawley was trying to incite violence against Jackson, telling MSNBC he was “trying to get her killed” and that “to make violence against a Supreme Court nominee.”
MSNBC host Joy Reid said Mystal was “spewing the plain truth” regarding her comments.
Multiple fact-checks against Hawley’s tweets have cited experts who say federal sentencing guidelines for child pornography are “draconian”, “unduly harsh” and “outdated”.
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One expert, cited by Vox, was Professor Douglas A. Berman of Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, who argued against accusations that Jackson handed out lenient sentences to sex offenders and child predators .
Berman said in a Publish on his “Sentencing Law and Policy” blog that “any review of Judge Jackson’s CP [child pornography] sentencing must include proper context regarding federal sentencing guidelines for CP, which are widely recognized as dysfunctional and unduly harsh. »
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During his confirmation hearing on Monday, Hawley confronted Jackson about his concerns, saying, “It’s hard…to argue that the sentencing guidelines are too harsh or outdated, or that we should kinda treat child porn offenders more leniently.”
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Hawley told Politico after meeting Jackson that he “personally” loves him but has issues with his criminal record.