Make her Justice Jackson: The Senate should approve Ketanji Brown Jackson on a bipartisan basis

Give Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee credit for playing a clever double game. First, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, Josh Hawley, Marsha Blackburn and others looked Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in the eyes and said that, unlike the way nasty Democrats (including former Sen. Joe Biden) savagely vilified nominees of Republican presidents, they would treat her with decency and respect — dressing a partisan attack in the clothing of civility. Then, often in the next breath, GOP senators twisted facts with vicious dishonesty to portray Jackson as an ally of terrorists and child pornographers, and a critical race theory brainwasher of kids who denies the existence of biological differences between the sexes.

That Jackson withstood these poison-dipped arrows with aplomb is a tribute to her temperament. It helps that her record is as solid as they come, forcing all who wish to brand her as out of the mainstream to make fools of themselves.


As for the most repeated charge, that she habitually went easy on sex offenders, the facts reveal that, as right-wing judicial analyst Andrew McCarthy put it in National Review, she has been “an unremarkable sentencer” in these cases, aligned with federal judges from across the ideological spectrum — including Trump appointees who Hawley and Cruz, the main inquisitors here, voted to confirm. For years, judges have been frustrated by guidelines that make few distinctions based on the severity of the offense in question. (All the cases at issue here are “non-production” cases, which means the criminal in question viewed or shared images but did not create them.)

As to Jackson’s alleged enthusiasm for playing footsie with enemies of America, she did her job as a federal defender by vigorously representing accused criminals assigned to her, including Guantanamo detainees. That deserves applause, not scorn. In 2005, she and a colleague argued that the torture to which defendants had been subjected amounted to “war crimes.” A former senator who never sat on the Judiciary Committee, John McCain, would surely concur.

The accusations that Jackson is a closet advocate of radical anti-racist legal theories and believes male and female are meaningless categories — simply because the private day school on whose board of trustees she sits and which her daughter attends has at least one critical race theory-themed book and other anti-racist texts on the curriculum and is tolerant of children who declare their gender to be different than their sex at birth — is barely worth dignifying with a response. If this were a real court, the claims would be thrown out. In the court of public opinion, an eye roll is more appropriate.

— New York Daily News

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