NewsNational Politics


Lawmakers to begin questioning Ketanji Brown Jackson Tuesday

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
Posted at 5:35 AM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 10:07:00-04

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will get their first chance to directly question Supreme Court justice nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Tuesday — the second day of a four-day confirmation hearing.

It will come a day after committee members and Jackson herself provided opening statements in a session that lasted more than four hours Monday.

During her opening statements, Jackson promised to keep a "neutral posture" if confirmed to the high court.

"I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath," Jackson said.

She also addressed the historic nature of her confirmation. She's the first Black woman to ever be nominated to serve on the Supreme Court.

"Unlike the many barriers (my parents) had had to face growing up, my path was clearer, such that if I worked hard and believed in myself, in America I could do anything or be anything I wanted to be," Jackson said.

Lawmakers were in agreement that they welcomed Jackson's diverse background on the high court.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he was in favor of having the court "look more like America," and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy said that Jackson's nomination marked "a new page in the history of America — a good page."

Republican senators — many of whom, in a rapidly polarizing political climate, will surely oppose Jackson's confirmation on the basis of being nominated by a Democratic president — spent much of their opening statements pledging a challenging but fair confirmation process.

Throughout Monday's hearings, Republican members pledged to keep things civil, blaming Democrats for attempting to hijack the 2018 confirmation hearings of Justice Brett Kavanaugh amid the accusations of sexual assault which he faced.

In questioning on Tuesday and Wednesday, lawmakers are expected to address Jackson's time defending Guantanamo Bay detainees and her past sentences for some sex offenders, which some conservatives say were too lenient.

Democrats will also likely ask about Jackson's views on abortion. While she hasn't issued many rulings on the issue, Democrats assume she supports abortion rights.

Jackson's potential appointment to the Supreme Court likely won't influence its ideological makeup. In replacing retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, Jackson would join the court's liberal contingent, which is currently outnumbered 3-6 by conservative-leaning justices.

Lawmakers will question Jackson on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the confirmation hearing will conclude Thursday when lawmakers will hold one final day of hearings without Jackson.