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Senate Republicans are planning to grill President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee about her rulings on child sex cases when her confirmation hearings begin next week.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley previewed the attack when he announced he found an ‘alarming pattern’ in Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders.
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee circulated a background document on the topic, Politico reported. It suggests that Jackson ‘routinely handed out light sentences but the lightest in all categories reviewed by Judiciary Republicans was in child pornography cases.’
Press secretary Jen Psaki went after Hawley for his questioning, accusing him of taking Jackson’s record out of context.
And she got in a shot at the Republican senator from Missouri.
‘I’m not sure if someone who refused to tell people whether or not he would vote for Roy Moore is an effective and credible messenger on this,’ Psaki said in Thursday’s press briefing.
Hawley, as a Senate candidate, had initially hedged on whether he’d support Moore, who had been accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls. Hawley later said Moore should drop out of the race.
Jackson has been on Capitol Hill, holding one-on-one meetings with senators ahead of her confirmation hearings, which begin on Monday.
‘As of today, Judge Jackson has completed 44 meetings with Senators of both parties, including every member of the Judiciary Committee. These have been engaging and respectful discussions that showcase her extraordinary qualifications, experience, intellect, and character,’ wrote Doug Jones, who is handling Jackson’s nomination for the White House, on Twitter on Friday.
He defended her judicial record.
‘She brings unquestionable credentials to the table, and it’s been a pleasure to hear her articulate her approach to cases which, like retired conservative judges have observed, is rooted solely in facts and the law,’ he wrote.
The White House and Jackson’s advocates have described her time as a public defender and a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission as a strength, noting she would bring a diversity of experience to the high court.
Senate Republicans are planning to grill Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson about her ruling on child sex cases during her confirmation hearings
White House Press secretary Jen Psaki went after Senator Josh Hawley for his questioning of President Joe Biden’s nominee for the Supreme Court
Senator Hawley, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a long Twitter thread on Wednesday where he questioned Jackson’s rulings in child sexual abuse cases.
‘I’ve noticed an alarming pattern when it comes to Judge Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders, especially those preying on children,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker. She’s been advocating for it since law school. This goes beyond ‘soft on crime.’ I’m concerned that this a record that endangers our children.’
Hawley told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday that he did not talk about this issue to Jackson when he met with her on March 9, saying he hadn’t finished going through her legal record at that point, but he said he would ask her about it during her confirmation hearing next week.
‘I’d like to hear from her next week – what her thoughts are,’ he said, adding that he’s ‘sure she’ll be prepared to talk about it.’
Psaki, however, argued Hawley took Jackson’s words out of context.
‘In the vast majority of cases involving child sex crimes, the sentences Judge Jackson imposed were consistent with or above what the government or U.S. probatation recommended,’ she said.
‘He took a snippet of a transcript out of context, when in fact Judge Jackson repeated something a witness said to ask her a question,’ she added. ‘Attempts to smear or discredit her work are not borne out in facts.’
Senator Josh Hawley issued a long twitter thread where he questioned Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders – above the two met on March 9
And earlier the White House slammed Hawley’s criticism as ‘cherry-picking.’
‘This is toxic and weakly-presented misinformation that relies on taking cherry-picked elements of her record out of context – and it buckles under the lightest scrutiny,’ said spokesman Andrew Bates.
In the 18-tweet thread, Hawley claimed that Jackson had been soft on sentencing people accused of possessing child pornography and that she questioned whether people accused of sex crimes should be required to register as sex offenders.
‘This is a disturbing record for any judge, but especially one nominated to the highest court in the land,’ he wrote. ‘Protecting the most vulnerable shouldn’t be up for debate. Sending child predators to jail shouldn’t be controversial.’
Jackson’s confirmation hearings begin on Monday when she introduces herself to the committee and senators make their opening statements. Senators will begin questioning her on Tuesday.
‘I’d like to hear her why she sentence the way that she did,’ Hawley told reporters on Thursday. And what her philosophy is when it comes to child sex offenders and crime more generally. But you know, let’s start with child sex offenders.’
He also said he had no intention of turning her hearing into one that brings to mind Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s controversial nominee who was accused of sexual assualt. His hearings were contentious and heavily protested.
Republicans have said Jackson would get a fair hearing.
Hawley said the same, saying he was just going to question the judge about her record.
‘This is her record,’ he said. ‘So this is what we’re here to do. We’re here to ask a judicial nominee questions about her judicial record, and that’s what I intend to do. Listen, I like her a lot. I was impressed with her. I think she’s a good person. I want to ask for a better record, though. And she’s, she can speak for herself.’