9:14 AM / Wednesday December 7, 2022

25 Mar 2022

Takeaways: Joy, tears, culture wars dominate Jackson hearing

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
March 25, 2022 Category: Week In Review Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By Lisa Mascaro


WASHINGTON — It’s not just Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson who is being scrutinized. Senators are also being watched at this milestone moment in history considering the first Black woman for the high court.

Some senators have been overcome with “joy,” as Cory Booker of New Jersey described the swell of emotion he felt over the potential to confirm a judge who would help the court look more like America.

Others, led by Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, quizzed the federal judge about her views on issues of race and crime, amplifying election year grievances and a backlash over changing culture.

Jackson appeared Wednesday for the third day of tense hearings at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, providing a vivid portrait of the nation’s promise, but also its enduring racial challenges. At one point, she held back bittersweet tears as Booker spoke of all that has brought her to this point: “You’re here.”

Here are some takeaways from Day Three of the weeklong confirmation hearings.



Jackson is the first federal public defender to be nominated to the Supreme Court and her efforts representing those accused of crimes, alongside her work as a federal judge, have provided a lengthy record of difficult cases for senators to review.

Republicans have particularly focused on the emotional and disputed debate over the judge’s record sentencing child pornography offenders to portray her as soft on crime. Critics say she brings too much “empathy” to the law.

Under questions from Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia, Jackson explained that prior to the court’s 1963 ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright, people who were accused of crimes but couldn’t afford lawyers were not guaranteed the right to legal representation.

“Now, everybody who is accused of criminal behavior has the right to an attorney,” she said. “And that’s very important.”

Democrats argue that Jackson, who comes from a family with police officers, is backed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the large law enforcement organization. Jackson’s record is being scrutinized much the way the work of the first Black nominee to the court, Thurgood Marshall, the storied civil rights attorney, was probed for representing criminal defendants a half a century ago.


Jackson has presented herself as a judge who relies on method, not judicial philosophy, to remain neutral as she works to “stay in my lane” as a judge rather than a public policy-maker.

She expanded on that view Wednesday reminding senators that the Constitution gives Congress the power to make laws and the courts the power to interpret them.

“Judges can’t make law; judges shouldn’t be policy makers,” she told the senators.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies as her parents Johnny and Ellery Brown, listen, during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Jackson made news by saying, if confirmed, she would recuse herself from hearing an affirmative action case at Harvard University, her alma mater, where she now serves on Harvard’s Board of Overseers. “That’s my plan,” she told senators.

Republicans have tried to portray Jackson as a potentially activist justice, a judge who has shown “empathy” for defendants and cases that they argue goes too far for a position on the high court, which is now tilted 6-3 toward conservatives.

 “It  seems as though you’re a very kind person, and that there’s at least a level of empathy that enters  into  your  treatment  of  a  defendant that some could view as maybe beyond what some of us would be comfortable with,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said.


Senators on the Republican side are repeatedly returning to issues of race and crime, focusing on the child pornography offenders that the judge herself has said are among the most difficult of her career — some that still give her nightmares.

Sen. Lindsey Graham(R-S.C.) picked up the arguments anew, stating that Jackson as a judge should have imposed tougher sentences on child porn defendants rather than applying other deterrents. despite fact checkers and other experts who have said the terms Jackson handed down are within norms of federal guidelines.

“Put their a— in jail,” Graham said.

Cruz in one tense moment demanded to know why Jackson handed down lighter sentences in a series of cases he had displayed on a chart than the government prosecutors or guidelines recommended.

The chairman Sen. Dick Durbin(D-Ill.) gaveled, saying the senator’s time had expired.

“You can bang it as long as you want,” Cruz said to the chairman.

Jackson had said that no single one sentence could stand in for all the sentences she has handed down in nearly a decade on the bench, and that she weighs all aspects of the case before her.

“I’ve said what I’m going to say about these cases,” she said.

Senators on the Republican side have signed onto a letter demanding files of her cases, some confidential, insisting that the panel probes deeper into Jackson’s decision making. Durbin dismissed the request as unprecedented, a “fishing expedition” he will not allow.


Jackson is making history as the first Black woman nominated for the court, which once upheld racial segregation in America and for 233 years has been filled mainly with white men.

Democrats have the potential with their slim majority in the 50-50 Senate to confirm Jackson as President Joe Biden’s choice to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer even if all Republicans line up opposed. Her nomination is on track for a vote by Easter.

Late in the day, Booker marked the moment saying he refused to let detractors take away his “joy.”

“You have sat with grit and grace,” he told her, as opponents hit a “new low” twisting her record.

Jackson’s face scrunched up as the senator talked about her family, her work, her accomplishments as a Black woman in America. As he spoke, she pulled out a tissue, and wiped her eye.

“You,” Booker said, “are a great American.” If confirmed, Jackson would also become the sixth female justice in the court’s history and the fourth among the nine members of the current court.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News


Jeffries wins historic bid to lead House Dems after Pelosi

December 2, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in...

Go With The-Flo

Trevor Noah hosted a “Black Theater Night” for the Tony-winning Best Musical “A Strange Loop”

December 2, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Trevor Noah ( By Flo Anthony On Nov. 29, Trevor Noah,...

Food And Beverage

What’s Cookin’? Vegan Oatmeal Butternut Squash Risotto

December 2, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Tweet Share Pin Email Related Posts What’s Cookin’? Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and...


Senior Fitness: You may have more choices than you think

December 2, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Do you struggle with starting or maintaining a fitness routine? Don’t worry,...


Do you have the winter sniffles? Five ways you can manage indoor winter allergies

December 2, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Do you suffer from itchy eyes, a runny nose or a scratchy...

Color Of Money

Feeling the stress of high energy bills?  New programs help lower costs

December 2, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT  Soaring energy prices equate to rising energy bills for households nationwide. This...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff