Ketanji Brown Jackson (born Ketanji Onyika Brown; /ktndi/ k-TAHN-jee; September 14, 1970) is an American lawyer and judge who has been a United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2021.
Before a big vote on her nomination next week, a lot of Senate Republicans are speaking out against President Joe Biden’s choice for the Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. They have a variety of reasons for opposing President Biden’s choice.
Many of the senators agree that Jackson, a federal appeals judge in Washington, D.C., is qualified for the job. However, they say that their opposition is mostly based on her judicial philosophy, her refusal to denounce the expansion of the Supreme Court, her record in cases involving child exploitation, and how Democrats have treated conservative judicial nominees in the past.
Ketanji Brown Jackson still has a good chance of being confirmed because he needs 50 votes and strong Democratic support. So far, only Susan Collins, a moderate Republican senator from Maine, has publicly said she supports her. It’s unclear how many more GOP votes she’ll get.
Cases involving child pornography and sentencing
Some Republicans attacked Jackson at her confirmation hearings by saying that as a district judge, she gave lenient sentences in cases involving child pornography. They mentioned a few cases where she gave sentences that were shorter than what was recommended.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pushed Judge Jackson over and over again on this issue. He later published a report that said, “In every single child pornography case she heard, Judge Jackson, gave the defendant a sentence below the sentencing guidelines.”
McConnell said, “In the specific area of crimes involving exploitation of children, the nominee was extremely lenient.”
Jackson defended her record at her confirmation hearing. She said that as a mother, she takes “these cases very seriously” and takes into account many things, such as the recommendations of the parties involved, the evidence, the stories of the victims, and other details.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., spent most of his questioning time on Jackson’s sentencing for these kinds of cases. He said, “As I’ve said many times, one of my concerns with Judge Jackson is that she hasn’t followed the prosecutors’ sentences.”
The White House said that her way of doing things is firmly in the mainstream by pointing out that judges appointed by Republican presidents have followed the same sentencing practices.
“The truth is that every single senator who joined in these bad-faith attacks on her record of sentencing for child pornography has voted for many Trump-nominated judges who sentenced defendants for the same crimes in the same way, below guidelines that most judges think are out of date and below what prosecutors asked for,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said.
Democrats have spoken out against conservative judges
During the hearings, Graham asked Jackson a lot of questions about how Democrats treated conservative judicial nominees in the past, which she said wasn’t her job to answer. His implication was easy to understand: They were mean to our judges, so don’t expect us to vote for theirs.
“The people celebrating this nomination are the same people who filibustered and blocked Janice Rogers Brown’s nomination to an appeals court,” said Graham, who said last week that Brown could have been the first Black woman on the Supreme Court if she had been approved earlier.
Career of Ketanji Brown Jackson
She was confirmed by the Senate on April 7, 2022, to be an associate justice on the US Supreme Court.
Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Miami, Florida. She went to college and law school at Harvard University, where she edited the Harvard Law Review. She started her legal career with three clerkships, including one with Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Before she was moved to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, she was a district judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2021. Jackson was also vice-chairman of the United States Sentencing Commission from 2010 to 2014. She joined the Harvard Board of Overseers in 2016.
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