Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court has been challenging to say the least. Americans have watched the judge and former public defender endure an onslaught of rude and crass questions from Republican party members, and it’s been tough to witness. However, the 51-year-old judge has handled the criticism with extraordinary poise, leaving no doubt in mind that she’ll be able to withstand the political heat when it comes down to advocating equal justice for Americans. In the words of Corey Booker, Justice Jackson is more than “worthy” for a seat on the Supreme court bench and she’s got the track record to prove it.
Before becoming President Biden’s golden nominee, Jackson was sworn in to serve on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit back in June 2021. Previously, the star served as a judge for the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia since 2013. The Washington, D.C. native stood up to Donald Trump in 2018 after he tried to restrict the ability of federal employees to collectively bargain and participate in union activities, showing off her grit and determination.
This isn’t the first time that the Harvard graduate was considered for the Supreme Court. Jackson was nominated by former President Barack Obama following the death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. If elected, she would become the first African American female Supreme Court Justice and we’re itching to see the historic moment unfold. In honor of the fearless nominee, let’s take a look at a few times Justice Jackson stood up to Republican bullies and showed Americans why she is in fact the next Supreme Court Justice.
On Her Previous Sentencing
Republicans have tried to come for Jackson about her previous sentencing on a number of cases involving child pornography. One case that sent red-state senators into a fiery uproar was Jackson’s 2013 decision regarding 19-year-old Wesley Hawkins, whom she sentenced to three months in prison after federal authorities reportedly found “17 videos and 16 images” of teenage boys on his laptop and phone, according to The Washington Post. Previous transcripts pulled from the court trial showed that Jackson considered a number of aspects before finalizing her decision including testimonies, Hawkins’ age and the fact he had “not produced any of the videos or taken any of the pictures, but exchanged ones he had found online,” the publication noted.
“Most child pornography offenders are middle-aged adults who are deviants drawn to pictures of vulnerable children … This case is different because the children in the photos and videos you collected were not much younger than you,” Jackson reportedly said during Hawkins’ trial.”
At the Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Republicans hammered into Jackson arguing how the “soft” ruling would reflect her inability to crack down on egregious crimes in the Supreme Court. The poised and collected judge defended her decision, but senators like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham interrupted with more obtuse questions, making it hard for Jackson to say a word.
“In every case, I did my duty to hold the defendants accountable in light of the evidence and the information that was presented to me,” Jackson explained when she was given the floor to speak. “The evidence in these cases are egregious. The evidence in these cases are among the worst that I have seen, and yet, as Congress directs, judges don’t just calculate the guidelines and stop. Judges have to take into account the personal circumstances of the defendant because that’s a requirement of Congress,” she added.
On March 23, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley asked the judge if she regretted any of her decisions on the case, to which she replied:
“Senator, what I regret is that in a hearing about my qualifications to be a justice on the Supreme Court, we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on this small subset of my sentences.”
On Critical Race Theory
Critical Race Theory has been a political talking point for Republicans over the last year and Texas Senator Ted Cruz went to great lengths to knock Jackson out of her calm and collected manner when the topic came up on March 22.
The drama began when Cruz asked Jackson if she had ever read the book, “Anti-Racist Baby”, by Ibram X. Kendi, which tries to tackle the issue of racism with young children. The coarse senator kept asking Jackson to express whether she believed the book should be taught in schools.
”Senator, I have not reviewed any of those books, any of those ideas, they don’t come up in my work as a judge, which I’m respectfully here to address,” she quipped back.
Cruz doubled down on his question once more, asking the poised judge if she thought babies were racist and, of course, she gathered up the mouthy senator with a quick and polite clap back.
“Senator I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they’re racist or though they are not valued or though they are less than that there are victims that there are oppressors,” said Jackson. “I don’t believe in any of that. But what I will say is that when you asked me whether or not this was taught in schools’ critical race theory, my understanding is that critical race theory as an academic theory is taught in law schools,” she continued. “And to the extent that you were asking the question, I understood you to be addressing public schools. Georgetown day school, just like the religious school that Justice Barrett was on the board of is a private school.”
On Her Definition Of A Woman
Americans let out a collective sigh and shook their heads with dismay in unison when Mississippi Senator Marsha Blackburn had the nerve to ask judge Jackson if she could “define” what a woman was.
Appearing visibly annoyed and puzzled, the soon to be justice took a moment of silence to gather herself before she simply replied back:
“I can’t..not in this context. I’m not a biologist,” she chuckled.
Blackburn asked with a smug look on her face, “The meaning of the word woman is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?” right before Jackson shut down the senator’s foolish question, again.
“Senator in my work as a judge, what I do is I address disputes if there’s a dispute about a definition, people make arguments, and I look at the law and I decide,” she said.
On Transgender Rights
One Senator asked the judge about her views on transgender women competing in women’s sports and how she would potentially rule on cases involving the matter. The talking point has become some of what of “hot topic”, especially in light of the International Olympic Committee’s new Trans Inclusion Policy, which prohibits sports organizations from excluding trans female participants under the notion that they would have “an inherent advantage over cisgender women,” Sports Illustrated notes. The new provision also concludes that transgender women should not have to reduce their testosterone levels to compete.
Jackson argued that the topic “could certainly be litigated,” but because of her current role as a judge on the Courts of Appeals, she declined to answer the question for legal reasons.
“I’m not in a position to say more about whether or not is actually one of the unenumerated rights.”
“Respectfully, Senator, that is a decision. In other words, you say I’m not asking you to decide it. But in every case, the determination about whether or not something is a political question, or whether or not the court has or has no jurisdiction is an issue for judges and so I’m not able to speak to it.”