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WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding the final day of hearings on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to be a Supreme Court justice, with experts testifying about the nominee’s qualifications.

Before hearing from the witnesses, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the committee, said he wanted to thank the “majority” of his Republican colleagues for handling themselves professionally when questioning Jackson. He also praised Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., for the stirring remarks he made at the conclusion of Wednesday’s hearing reflecting on the historic nature of Jackson’s nomination.

“His statement will go down in the annals of this committee and the United States Senate for the impact that they had at the moment,” Durbin said Thursday. “I wish I could say that for all of the things that have happened over the last 72 hours, but I can’t. Some of the attacks on this judge were unfair, unrelenting and beneath the dignity of the United States Senate.”

The hearing has three panels of witnesses. The first featured several members of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which is tasked with providing independent, nonpartisan evaluations of judicial nominees’ professional qualifications. Jackson is meeting with various senators on the Hill on Thursday but is not expected to attend the hearing.

D. Jean Veta said the panel spoke to over 200 people about Jackson’s qualifications and “readily concluded that Judge Jackson demonstrates the exceptional professional competence expected of a Supreme Court justice and thus merits a well-qualified rating.”

Veta said one person recommending Jackson told them, “She possesses all of the other important attributes of a great jurist. She is practical and intuitive, and curious and courteous, and always impeccably well-prepared.”

Durbin asked Veta to address attacks that Republican senators made this week accusing Jackson of giving too much leniency to criminal defendants.

She replied, “Notably, no judge, defense counsel or prosecutor expressed any concern in this regard and they uniformly rejected any accusations of bias. For example, when asked about the allegation that Judge Jackson is soft on crime, one high ranking attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s office responded, ‘I vehemently disagree.'”

Durbin asked the panel about the allegations lodged by several GOP senators who said Jackson was lenient, for example, toward child porn offenders. Ann Claire Williams said their panel interviewed 250 lawyers and judges who have previously interacted with Jackson during their evaluation. “It never came up in any of the interviews we conducted,” she said.

“We did not find any evidence of that,” added Joseph M. Drayton, who interviewed them and said that issue would have emerged in their conversations if it was a concern.

Members of the Judiciary Committee will then hear from a panel of witnesses invited by Democrats and another panel invited by Republicans. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, will testify during the second panel. Other experts invited by the majority include a law professor from the University of Virginia, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the national president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Meanwhile, witnesses for the third panel invited by the minority include Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, a professor at George Mason University’s law school and others.

March 24, 202202:24

The final day comes after two grueling days before the committee for Jackson, a historic pick to be the court’s first Black female justice, who faced questions from senators Tuesday and Wednesday following opening statements on Monday.

Republicans repeated their attacks on Jackson, alleging that she has a history of being “soft on crime” and was too lenient in sentencing child pornography offenders. They also questioned her work as a public defender representing Guantanamo Bay detainees and delved into familiar, politically charged themes of immigration and “critical race theory.”

Democrats, however, defended Jackson’s record and praised her qualifications.

“Judge Jackson, you are extraordinary. Your story is a great American story,” Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said as he concluded Wednesday’s proceedings.

Source: This post first appeared on NBC News

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