Ketanji Brown Jackson unfairly deluged at nomination hearing

By Lexi Meola
Elm Staff Writer

Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first Black female United States Supreme Court justice.

Jackson’s historic confirmation on April 7 occurred only after she underwent the extensive nomination and confirmation processes. The justice’s confirmation hearings were particularly wrought with controversy, with the Republican party posing confusing and awkward questions. 

Jackson did her best to stay objective and offer little to no opinions about key issues to be as non-partisan as possible during the three long days of hearings. According to NPR, this is a well-known tactic that Supreme Court justice nominees have used for over 20 years.

According to Vox, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham was adamant that no senator would be lobbing personal attacks against Jackson during the hearing. However, this promise was not kept.

Republicans on the confirmation committee chose to spend their time questioning Jackson about her previous rulings, specifically in child pornography cases.  Missouri Senator Josh Hawley went so far as to imply that Jackson was too lenient in her rulings.

According to Vox, “The gravamen of Hawley’s attack is that, in seven cases involving child pornography offenders, Jackson sentenced these offenders to less prison time than federal sentencing guidelines recommended.”

Jackson defended her actions as a judge every time baseless accusations were made.

“I looked at the law and the facts,” Jackson said. “I made sure that the victims, the children’s perspectives, were represented, and I also imposed prison terms and significant supervision and other restrictions on these defendants.”

One of the strangest questions was asked by Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn on the discussion of transgender rights.

According to The New York Times, Blackburn asked Jackson to provide the definition of the word “woman.”

“I am not a biologist,” Jackson said in answer.

According to The New York Times, Jackson’s response was similar to those previous Supreme Court nominees have given.

Graham also went so far as to ask about previous nomination hearings which Jackson had no role in at all.

“During the hearings, Graham peppered Jackson with questions about how Democrats treated past conservative judicial nominees, which she said was outside her lane to address.

His insinuation was simple: They treated our judges badly, so don’t expect us to vote for theirs,” NBC News said.

Republican senators tried their hardest to get Jackson to make opinionated statements about key issues in the United States such as critical race theory, transgender rights, women’s rights, and election integrity.

The way Jackson was treated by Republican senators in her hearing was unjust and uncalled for. It is confusing how Senators like Graham can look so narrowly at a successful person’s career.

Despite the hopes of the Republican Party, Jackson was confirmed in a 53-47 vote, placing her on the highest court in the nation.

According to The New Yorker, Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski were the only three Republicans to vote in favor of Jackson’s nomination.

Despite facing difficulties and unreasonable challenges along the way, Jackson’s historic nomination challenges the societal standard of court dominated primarily by cisgender white males — and that is monumental.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Featured Photo Caption: Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson faced continual questioning during her nomination hearing earlier this month.

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