Jackson Promises To Make Decisions “Without Fear Or Favour”

If the Senate confirms her historic nomination as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson pledged Monday to decide cases “without fear or favor.” Jackson, 51, thanked God and expressed her love for “our country and the Constitution” in a 12-minute statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee at the end of her first day of confirmation hearings, which lasted nearly four hours and were almost entirely dominated by the panel’s 22 members’ remarks. Republicans have promised tough questions over the next two days, with a particular focus on her criminal past. President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee received a lot of acclaim from Democrats.

Jackson underlined that in her nine years as a judge, she has been independent, deciding cases “from a neutral position,” and that she is ever cognizant of the importance of that duty, with her family sitting behind her, her husband wearing socks with George Washington’s likeness. “I have dedicated my career to ensuring that the words engraved on the front of the Supreme Court building — equal justice under law — are a reality and not just an ideal,” she declared.

Democrats, who hold the Senate by the tiniest of margins, plan to complete her confirmation by Easter, barring any major setbacks. She would be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, and the third Black justice after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas. Jackson’s harshest Republican adversaries, as well as her staunchest Democratic defenders, all regarded Jackson’s presence as momentous and ground-breaking. There were repeated reminders that no Black woman had ever been nominated to the Supreme Court before her, as well as references to another unique characteristic of her nomination: Jackson is the first former public defender to be considered for a position on the court.

“Being the first isn’t easy. “You have to be the best, and in some ways, the bravest,” said Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who chairs the committee. As Jackson’s parents beamed behind her, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., spoke of the “joy” in the room and acknowledged her family’s pleasure. Booker told a story about a letter Jackson’s youngest daughter addressed to President Barack Obama a few years ago extolling her mother’s accomplishments.

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“We are going to see a new generation of children talking about their mamas and daring to write the president of the United States that my mom should be on the Supreme Court,” Booker said. “I want to tell your daughter right now, that dream of hers is so close to being a reality.” Democrats sought to counter Republican accusations of her criminal record as a judge, as well as her record as a federal public defender and a member of the United States Sentencing Commission, in their opening statements.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., claimed Jackson is “neither anti-law enforcement” or “soft on crime,” noting that members of Jackson’s family have served in law enforcement and that she has the endorsement of certain major law enforcement organizations. “Judge Jackson isn’t an activist in the courtroom.” Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the committee’s senior Republican, stated that Republicans will “ask difficult questions about Jackson’s judicial ideology” without making the hearings a “spectacle.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, remarked that Democrats have previously blocked Republican judicial nominees who were Black or Hispanic, and he stated that Jackson’s color would not dissuade him or his GOP colleagues from asking probing questions. “It’s about, ‘We’re all racists if we raise hard questions,” he added of some left-wing criticism. That will not be tolerated by us.”

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