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Supreme Court: Republicans grill Ketanji Brown Jackson as Trump Jr attacks on Twitter

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Watch live as Senate Judiciary Committee begin hearing on Biden's Supreme Court nominee

Ketanji Brown Jackson, Joe Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the first of her confirmation hearings. The first Black woman to be nominated to the court, she will if confirmed replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

With the Democrats in control of the Senate and the court now heavily tilted in conservatives’ favour, Ms Brown Jackson – currently a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia – is expected to be confirmed barring some unforseen event.

However, some Republicans have lately begun attacking her for her past work as a public defender, focusing in particular on her work defending sexual offenders. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, yesterday questioned her aggressively about supposedly lenient sentences she handed down to certain child sexual offenders.

The White House condemned his line of questioning – which is based on largely debunked misrepresentations of the decisions in question – calling it an ‘embarrassing, QAnon-signalling smear’ in reference to the conspiracy theory that the world is run by a cabal of cannibalistic paedophiles.


Graham grills Jackson on Al Qaeda, Isis over Guantanamo detainee representation

Sen Lindsey Graham went on a tangent about radical Islamist extremism during Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and peppered Ketanji Brown Jackson with questions regarding whether US was “at war” with such groups as Isis or Al Qaeda.

Mr Graham questioned the judge on whether she believed such groups continued to threaten the US, and about her various court filings on behalf of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

The South Carolina senator and Ms Jackson argued back-and-forth for some time about whether Ms Jackson’s filings on behalf of detainees represented her own beliefs.

John Bowden22 March 2022 15:11

Lindsey Graham storms off after rant at Ketanji Brown Jackson

Sen Lindsey Graham concluded a furious round of questioning aimed at Judge Jackson’s record representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay with a condemnation of the view of some legal experts and progressives that such detainees have the right to a trial and cannot be held indefinitely under the law.

Storming off after his time concluded, Mr Graham told Ms Jackson and others in the packed hearing room that he hoped dozens of detainees at the controversial prison died in custody if it meant preventing them from returning to the battlefield or the Taliban.

“Loot at the friggin’ Afghan government!” Mr Graham exclaimed at one point.

John Bowden22 March 2022 15:28

GOP tweet about Ketanji Brown Jackson draws accusations of racism

A tweet from the Republican Party amid day 2 of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings quickly drew accusations of racism as it depicted an acronym of the judge’s name crossed out and replaced with “CRT”, the acronym referring to “critical race theory”.

The attack was largely a non sequitur to the criticism from Republicans Ms Jackson has faced thus far before the Senate Judiciary Committee; the connection between Judge Jackson’s record and the theory regarding the study of racism is nonexistent and the only tangible link between her and such ideas is her service as a trustee on the board of a Washington DC-area school that has been attacked by conservatives for having anti-racism policies.

Ms Jackson is the first Black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court and many conservatives have been accused of engaging in racist attacks against her; one notable example is Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who faced such criticism after he asserted that Ms Jackson’s confirmation would denigrate the Supreme Court.

John Bowden22 March 2022 15:45

Ketanji Brown Jackson affirms support for abortion precedents

Ketanji Brown Jackson was questioned on Tuesday by senators whether she believed two major cases that have determined the extent of abortion rights in America were “settled” law.

Ms Jackson responded that she agreed the two, Planned Parenthood V Casey and Roe V Wade, should not be overturned. The decisions are currently up for debate by the Court in the most serious challenge to abortion rights in decades.

“Roe and Casey are the settled law of the Supreme Court concerning the right to terminate a woman's pregnancy. They have established a framework that the court has reaffirmed,” she said.

John Bowden22 March 2022 16:00

Judge Jackson endures scrutiny of her religious beliefs, spirituality

Among some of his questions more relevant to her judicial record, Sen Lindsey Graham also took time during Tuesday’s hearing to pry into Ms Jackson’s personal religious beliefs and interrogate the judge on whether she was sufficiently spiritual in her beliefs.

The senator from South Carolina questioned Ms Jackson directly as to what faith she subscribed, which she responded that she was a non-denominational Protestant. But when Mr Graham demanded to know how religious she was, on a scale of “1 to 10”, Ms Jackson pushed back.

"I am reluctant to talk about my faith in this way,” she responded, adding that she was “mindful of the need for the public to have confidence in my ability to separate out my personal views”.

Watch below:

John Bowden22 March 2022 16:15

Democrat scorches Republican dark money groups at Jackson hearing

Sen Sheldon Whitehouse used part of his question time on Tuesday to highlight the millions of dollars spent by right-leaning political groups lobbying in support of past nominations to the Supreme Court by Republicans.

Mr Whitehouse came prepared with charts showing how much money was spent by various groups including Judicial Crisis Network in support of the nominations of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

John Bowden22 March 2022 16:45

Sheldon Whitehouse attacks Fox’s Laura Ingraham for threat to limit SCOTUS jurisdiction

Sen Whitehouse continued his criticism of the conservative right’s approach to the Court on Tuesday by highlighting a Fox News segment in which host Laura Ingraham called for the Court’s authority to be limited unless it ruled to overturn Roe V. Wade, the landmark abortion rights case.

Because of Senate rules, members of the Judiciary Committee are not allowed to directly criticize other members by name; this may be why Mr Whitehouse did not mention that the call had been endorsed by Ms Ingraham’s guest, none other than Mr Whitehouse’s fellow committee member Ted Cruz.

John Bowden22 March 2022 17:06

Jackson battles Cornyn over gay marriage decision

Sen John Cornyn of Texas questioned Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson regarding whether she supported the Court’s decision that LGBT Americans have the right to marry, which he characterised as in conflict with conservative Christian beliefs.

The question evoked a response from Ms Jackson affirming that rights often conflict with the views of faith traditions and individuals, and therefore took precedence over sincerely held beliefs.

"When there is a right, it means that there are limitations on regulation, even if people are regulating pursuant to their sincerely held religious beliefs,” she explained. “That is the nature of a right.”

John Bowden22 March 2022 17:23

Cornyn questions Jackson on ‘war criminal’ characterisation

Sen John Cornyn joined the list of senators who questioned words Ms Jackson wrote while representing clients at Guantanamo Bay as part of her job as a public defender.

Mr Cornyn chose to focus his fire on a passage in one court filing in which Ms Jackson, again writing on behalf of a detainee, accused the federal government of torturing her client and noted that such action would constitute a war crime.

"Why in the world would you call Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and George W. Bush war criminals in a legal filing? Mr Cornyn questioned.

Ms Jackson responded that she “did not intend to disparage the President or the Secretary of Defense”.

Republicans have simultaneously argued that such public legal defence work is valid and necessary, while also seeking to impugn Ms Jackson for positions and statements she made in court filings outlining her various clients’ allegations.

John Bowden22 March 2022 17:50

Cruz launches into examination of critical race theory

Sen Ted Cruz hammered Ketanji Brown Jackson on the issue of critical race theory for several minutes, veering sharply away from her work as a judge to, like other Republicans, examine her personal life and views.

Mr Cruz’s questioning honed in on Ms Jackson’s service as a trustee on the board of a DC-area private school until the judge told him “respectfully” that she was here to answer questions about her judicial record, not unrelated personal business.

The senator then relented and shifted his questioning to her judicial record on an unrelated topic.

John Bowden22 March 2022 19:07

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