After a day of opening statements setting the tone, the second day of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing promises to dig deeper into the substance, and perhaps the partisan fights, as the 22-member Committee Senate judiciary question the candidate on Tuesday.
There is no doubt that Judge Jackson will eventually be confirmed by the Senate as the first black female judge, due to both Democratic control of the chamber and some Republican support for her previous nominations.
But in a marathon day of interrogations set to start at 9 a.m. and continue into the night, committee members from both parties could spend their time on Tuesday using Judge Jackson’s nomination to make arguments. policies. Many have already signaled their intention to examine his thinking on controversial social topics. Republicans also hinted at a strategy of portraying her as soft on crime.
Here’s what to watch out for when Judge Jackson faces questions.
What is Jackson’s judicial philosophy?
One of Tuesday’s main lines of questioning will almost certainly focus on Justice Jackson’s approach to deciding the cases, and members of both sides have expressed interest in pressing her to say more.
Seemingly anticipating that discussion, Judge Jackson told committee members on Monday that her approach was characterized by direct and independent thinking.
“I assess the facts, and interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, in accordance with my judicial oath,” she said.
Based on the senators’ opening statements on Monday, however, the issue is likely to come up again.
Several Republican senators expressed concerns about how Judge Jackson would interpret the Constitution, echoing questions she answered in previous hearings. These largely stem from the long-running debate over whether the Constitution should be applied as it was understood at the time of its adoption, or considered a “living document” that evolves over time.
On Monday, the senators also hinted that they planned to press Judge Jackson on how she would handle cases involving controversial political issues.
Several Republicans, including Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, appeared to be preparing to question Judge Jackson on how issues of race should be considered in judicial decision-making.
Sen. Jon Ossoff, Democrat of Georgia, said Monday he hoped to hear how Judge Jackson would review cases involving First Amendment protections and disputes over executive war powers.
How much will senators focus on Jackson’s experience as a public defender?
If confirmed, Judge Jackson would be the first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court.
Democrats have widely celebrated Judge Jackson’s experience representing defendants, arguing that it brings important perspective to the bench, especially in civil rights-focused cases. Republicans on the committee, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, also expressed admiration for his work on Monday.
When considering Judge Jackson for previous judicial posts, however, Republicans questioned whether the same experience, which includes representing detainees at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay military prison, might influence Judge Jackson’s decisions on policies related to criminal convictions or immigration.
Judge Jackson has previously pushed back on these questions, saying that she was assigned Guantánamo cases and that her work did not necessarily represent her personal opinions.
But the question seems likely to resurface as the four-day hearing continues.