Ketanji Brown Jackson pledges to be transparent and serve ‘without fear or favour’

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson closed the first day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing by promising transparency and to serve without “fear or favour” if confirmed.

“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 the past 246 years,” Ms. Jackson said at the the opening of his speech on Monday. . “I assess the facts and interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me without fear or favor consistent with my judicial oath.”

Throughout her statement, which came after four hours of opening remarks from all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the judge tried to encapsulate the kind of justice it would be if she were to be confirmed as the first black woman. to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States. To research.

Ms Jackson appeared to respond preemptively to accusations from Republicans that she was a judicial activist by saying she knew her role as a judge was limited.

“I know that my judicial role is further limited by respect for precedent,” she said. She noted that when senators read her rulings, they may have noticed the length of some of her writing.

“It’s because I also believe in transparency,” she said. “Let people know precisely what I think and the basis of my decision.”

Ms Jackson, who would also be the High Court’s first public defender if confirmed, also highlighted her experience as a trial judge.

“During this hearing, I hope you will see how much I love our country, the Constitution and the rights that make us great,” she said.

Republicans, for the most part, avoided discussing Ms. Jackson during their opening remarks, instead focusing on their frustration with the way Judge Brett Kavanaugh was treated during his confirmation hearing, when Christine Blasey Ford l accused of sexual assault, which Mr Kavanaugh vehemently denied. .

“No one is going to investigate your teenage dating habits,” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told Ms. Jackson during her opening remarks. “No one will ask you with mock severity ‘do you like beer?'”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican who was chairman of the Judiciary Committee during Mr. Kavanaugh’s hearing, said he would promise a more respectful hearing than the one Mr. Kavanaugh received.

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

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“Unlike at the start of the Kavanaugh hearings, we did not have repeated interruptions from Speaker Durbin during his opening statements like the Democrats interrupted me for over an hour during my opening statements on the Kavanaugh hearings. “, did he declare.

However, some Republicans have brought up his criminal record. Sen. Lindsey Graham said while he had no problem with his defending detainees at Guantanamo Bay, he had other concerns.

“Everyone deserves a lawyer. You do a great service to the country when you stand up for the most unpopular people,” he said. “But I want to know your amicus briefs after you’re no longer a defense attorney weighing in the Supreme Court on how they decide law of war issues.”

Similarly, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri followed up on his hints that he would accuse Ms Jackson to be too lenient against child sex offenders.

“What worries me is that in every case, in every one of those seven cases, Judge Jackson handed down a lenient sentence that was less than what the federal guidelines recommended and what prosecutors had asked for,” did he declare.

But Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin pushed back against the accusations, noting that several news outlets, including the Conservative National examdemystified his arguments.

“They go against promises made by my colleagues that they would approach your nomination with courtesy and respect,” he said. “Critics have even stooped to accusing you of sharing the opinions of the clients you have represented, even though they know your work as a lawyer was in service of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution’s promise of effective assistance of a lawyer.”

Patrick Jackson cries as he watches his wife, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, make his opening statement before the US Senate Judiciary Committee during the first day of the confirmation hearing for his nomination to the US Supreme Court , in Capitol Hill


Mr Durbin also asked if police organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police would have endorsed her if she had been soft on crime.

“Of course not,” he said. “I’m confident the American people will see through these attacks and any other last-minute attempts to derail your confirmation.”

The hearing was also filled with lighter moments, including with Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, the only black member of the committee, quoting from Ms Jackson’s daughter’s letter to former President Barack Obama asking to appoint her to the courtyard.

“I suspect that after these proceedings – please God – after your confirmation at the Supreme Court, something new will happen in America,” he said. “That this letter from your daughter will not be exceptional. Generations of little young girls and generations of little young boys, whoever their parents are, will have the audacity to write to the President of the United States, whether they are daughters of white parents or black parents or biracial parents , or Muslims or Jews. parents, Sikh or Hindu parents. We’re going to see a new generation of kids talking about their moms.

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