Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson Explains to Lawmakers How Being a Lawyer Works

As expected, Tuesday's hearing was primarily made up of political theater.

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The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday continued its questioning of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. And, as these things tend to go, the hearing focused primarily on the sort of political theater more likely to generate clips for cable news than to extract productive tidbits about Jackson's approach to the bench.

But a series of exchanges took that to new heights as the nominee spent a considerable amount of time outlining for the committee how being an attorney works and how basic trial practices play out in reality.

Early on there was her exchange with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.), who took issue with a few things: There was the fact that President Joe Biden declined to nominate District Judge Michelle Childs, who hails from his state; there was a bizarre line of questioning about Jackson's religious beliefs and if she could fairly judge a Catholic; and then there was his probing around an amicus brief Jackson filed on behalf of the libertarian Cato Institute in support of detainees on Guantanamo Bay who had been held without the government charging them with a crime. The nominee responded that the brief didn't necessarily reflect her views, to which Graham replied: "Why would you do that if it's not your position?"

"I would refer you to the same sorts of statements that Chief Justice Roberts made when he came before the committee," Jackson said, "which is that lawyers represent clients."

Graham, an attorney himself who spent years representing clients in the Air Force, likely knows this. But it gave him an opportunity to launch a monologue as if he did not, punctuated by him storming out of his seat in view of the camera.

When Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) took his turn, he pivoted back to allegations—originally raised by Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.)—that Jackson is soft on child predators. During his time, Cruz brandished a chart outlining a series of cases in which Jackson sentenced defendants to lower prison terms than the government requested.

Missing from his spiel was that in the vast majority of non-production cases—meaning a defendant was not charged with creating pornographic content but instead with viewing or possessing it—federal judges nominated by both Republican and Democratic administrations do exactly what Jackson did: sentence such offenders below the federal sentencing guidelines. This is because there is a wide, bipartisan consensus among judges that those guidelines (which are non-binding) are overly punitive and do not appropriately distinguish between various types of offenses—something Jackson reiterated over and over. These defendants aren't walking free. On the contrary, Jackson argued they should not. Instead, she expressed the mainstream judicial view that there should be nuance, which is easy to weaponize in an era where performance goes farther than substance.

Also missing from Cruz's time: the fact that judges are not obligated to accept a sentence just because a prosecutor demands it, and they often don't. That's not a partisan concept. Cruz, who is also an attorney, is surely familiar with it. He's just hoping you're not.

NEXT: America's Most Controversial Rent Control Law Is Getting a Hasty Makeover

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  1. Where are the questions about the right of the judiciary to rewrite laws so that they fit with a particularly favored reading of the constitution? Or questions about compelled participation in """"interstate commerce""""? Why isn't anyone asking about these things?

    1. You know why. Both sides agree that government can do whatever they want it to do, and interstate commerce is a useful excuse for that. Both sides. But the purpose of the confirmation hearings is posturing and posing. Which both sides did admirably today. Like show dogs on television.

      Asking substantive questions is against the rules.

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      3. Contrary to wokesuckers' doctrine, this IS a substantive question.

        https://twitter.com/RNCResearch/status/1506451123674173443?t=9LqsjVA3SnP3HIbHIAvfCQ&s=19

        SEN. BLACKBURN: "Can you provide a definition of the word 'woman'?"

        JACKSON: "No, I can't"

        BLACKBURN: "You can't?"

        JACKSON: "I'm not a biologist"

        [Video]

        1. I dunno. That's probably about the best answer someone could give. It indicates that she believes sex is primarily a biological distinction, not a social construct, but at the same time deflects the question in a way that only the worst half of Team Blue, which is ready to burn their party down for ideological purity, could object to.

          1. Why does she care about them? She’s about to get a lifetime appointment.

          2. Willingness to bow to a psychotic mob/zeitgeist is a positive trait for a Supreme Court Justice to you?

            Yikes

            1. Okay. I'll bite. Look at it this way. There's three ways she can realistically respond to this:

              A) "A woman is a female human being. She has two X chromosomes and is typified by having a pair of ovaries, a uterus, and a vagina."
              B) Her actual response.
              C) "A woman is any person whose own personal truth tells them that they are a woman."

              She's not going to respond with A because she got nominated by the head of Team Blue and has to get the approval of a (definitely not united) room full of Team Blue people. It's important to note that she won't win any actual votes from Team Red for this answer, but she will lose a lot of Team Blue votes, and she needs the votes of several of Team Blue's merely-half-psychotic weirdos who are beholden to yet-even-crazier constituents who will lose their fucking minds over this answer.

              She's could have responded with C and 50 people in the room would have stood up and clapped while 49 others would have howled and stamped their feet and there'd be some risk of a filibuster.

              I'm not saying this answer is immediately qualifying to her. I'm actually really frustrated that no one is asking any substantive questions about judicial philosophy and instead resorting to the same tired culture war crap, but hot damn dude. This lady, by all appearances, agrees with you on something (I'm just making the assumption here that you're more an Option A guy than an Option C guy they/xer/Attack Helicopter) and you still try to turn that around in your head as a reason to dislike her? Pick a better hill to die on.

  2. Jackson's fitness is not correlated to the antics of Lindsey Graham or Ted Cruz

    1. Nor is it related to the fact that she gives possessors of child pornography smaller sentences than recommended.

      —Reason

  3. Remember when the Democrats said Kavanaugh ran a secret gang rape cartel and Reason was fine with it?
    And remember when the Democrats had agitators burst into the hearings and try to shut down the process and Reason called it the voice of the nation's conscience?

    But Josh Hawley asking pertinent questions about the candidates judgments is "political theater".

    1. “All the other judges are doing it”.

    2. > Remember when the Democrats said Kavanaugh ran a secret gang rape cartel and Reason was fine with it?

      No, I don't remember that. I do remember Reason being exasperated with the Democrats over it. Maybe you and I read a different Reason than the other.

      1. Man you are a fucking narrative driven liarmultiple reason editors called the claims credible.

        1. https://reason.com/2018/09/16/brett-kavanaugh-accuser-christine-ford/

          Brett Kavanaugh's Sexual Assault Accuser Has Come Forward, and Her #MeToo Story Might Disqualify Him
          The situation is a mess-and it's Dianne Feinstein's fault-but the public needs to take this accusation seriously.

        2. https://reason.com/2018/10/01/aclu-brett-kavanaugh-oppose-ford/

          As of yet, there is no evidence that corroborates Ford's story, and other alleged attendees of the party have failed to back up her account. But Kavanaugh's evasive and misleading statements about his teenage drinking have made it easier to believe that he is hiding something.

        3. And remember this hilariously debunked story that Robbie thought was worth bringing to the forefront?

          https://reason.com/2018/09/23/brett-kavanaugh-accused-of-sexual-miscon/

        4. Shikha saying the FBI should step in.

          https://reason.com/2018/09/19/republicans-shouldnt-dismiss-an-fbi-prob/

          Do I need to keep going Brandy?

          1. Thanks for the memories. My favorite is still the one where Robbie came up with the term "eminently plausible" to describe Blasey Ford. Rivaled only by Sullum's "within normal parameters" to describe Biden. Comedy gold.

            1. Rivaled only by Sullum's "within normal parameters" to describe Biden

              That was actually PJ O'Rourke. Easy mistake though. All the burned out Marxist boomers are interchangeable.

          2. Brandy and the fifty-centers either have a goldfish's memory span or are instinctive liars.

            1. They're liars. Dirty, lying liars who lie. Deliberately. Professionally. Constantly. They lie like you and I breath oxygen.

      2. There's one main article I remember that made question whether there's any saving this publication. Robby Soave immediately wrote, "This is not like the Rolling Stone Rape Hoax!"

        https://reason.com/2018/09/26/brett-kavanaugh-gang-rape-swetnick/

        "But the Kavanaugh accusations, while not totally solid in every way, are significantly more plausible than the story an anonymous victim, "Jackie," told to Rolling Stone in 2014."

        There's not even the tiniest dose of reasonable skepticism present.

        1. Free Minds.

          1. As in, the price of them so reduced that they're now just given away.

      3. Damn, that was brutal Brandy.

        Hey Brandy, wanna earn some respect? Admit you were wrong and that Reason writers are complete, obvious, hypocrites regarding how they cover the two parties.

        1. LOL

        2. The fucking idiot brigade can't do that. I mean fuck they claim you are telling lies about their past statements when you directly quote them.

        3. Here we are 24 hours later and the pathetic bitch slinks away like the pussy faggot cunt he always is and was. Btw, Brandyfuck is sarcasmic. So, the same terrified pussy faggot cunt who has challenged multiple people to fisticuffs and then crawled under a rock and tried to play it off as a concert invite.

      4. I don't remember that, either.

        1. You can click all those links Jesse just posted to refresh your memory.

          1. Lol. He posted that 45 minutes after the walk down memory lane.

      5. Reason REPEATEDLY discussed the "serious" allegations and how darned "credible" they were.

    3. She was credible. Didn't you read Robbie and his defense of the accusations???

      1. So was Christine Blasey Ford. She HAS to have two front doors because she was so traumatized by the rape. It has nothing to do with her wanting to rent out a room! How dare you!

        Trauma means you need multiple front doors to your house, clearly.

  4. Republicans never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

    1. If Dems want to run on "Pedos YAY!", they have my blessing to do so.

  5. "This is because there is a wide, bipartisan consensus among judges that those guidelines (which are non-binding) are overly punitive and do not appropriately distinguish between various types of offenses—something Jackson reiterated over and over."

    THANK YOU.

    One of the major problems in the US today is that we're way too tough on criminals*. We Koch / Soros / Reason libertarians promote the #EmptyThePrisons agenda to swing the pendulum in the other direction. (And also because people with criminal records will often work for cheap.)

    #CheapLaborAboveAll

    * Except the HEAVILY ARMED INSURRECTIONISTS of 1 / 6; we're actually going too easy on them. They should all get life sentences.

  6. "there was a bizarre line of questioning about Jackson's religious beliefs and if she could fairly judge a Catholic"

    Remember when the Democrats questioned whether Amy Coney Barrett could judge fairly because she was Catholic?

    "Democrats aren't anti-Catholic bigots for questioning Amy Coney Barrett"

    "Amy Coney Barrett's Catholicism Is Controversial"

    Apparently Binion can't (won't).

    1. That was also literally Graham's point; that questioning someone overtly about their religion and making them defend their religious beliefs is beyond the scope of the hearings. It's pretty fucking clear what Graham was getting at.

      Though Graham's contention that we have to hold prisoners at GitMo indefinitely, or else America is unable to function, was painful to listen to.

  7. She also explained how the judicial branch can overrule the legislative branch based on their whims

    Judge Jackson: Sentencing guidelines for child pornography offenders are "leading to extreme disparities in the system."

    "Courts are adjusting their sentences in order to account for the changed circumstances..."

    1. Her argument is that child porn is easier to get now so sentences should be shorter. An amazing piece of legal analytics.

      1. only in possession? wrist-slap.

      2. Isn't her argument that child porn is easier to get now so the judiciary should unilaterally make up its own sentencing guidelines regardless of the law?

    2. "She also explained how the judicial branch can overrule the legislative branch based on their whims"

      And minimum sentences and sentencing guidelines aren't the legislative branch overruling the judicial branch?

      The War on Drugs all by itself gives us endless examples of what a bad idea it is to have the legislative encroach on the judicial.

      1. And minimum sentences and sentencing guidelines aren't the legislative branch overruling the judicial branch?

        No, they are not. The legislative branch writes laws. The judicial branch does not.

      2. "And minimum sentences and sentencing guidelines aren't the legislative branch overruling the judicial branch?"

        Judges RULE on law. Not MAKE laws.

  8. Ted Cruz: "What are you feelings on the fact Critical Race Theory is being taught at this school? One of the required texts is even called 'Critical Race Theory: An Introduction.'"

    KJB: "CRT isn't being taught in schools."

    1. KJB 2 years ago cited the founder of critical theory and his wife as being hugely influential in her beliefs.

      https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/21/will-a-justice-ketanji-brown-jackson-be-a-legacy-of-critical-race-theory/

  9. Perhaps someone can explain this to me, as well. Lindsay Graham asked why she wrote an amicus brief, and she kept saying that it was simply her job, that she was bound to represent the interests of her client. However, I thought a lawyer acting as an amicus curiae was essentially their own agent. They can shop around for that kind of work, at the least.

    Seemed pretty weaselly to claim the opinions she was authoring weren't her own when she essentially volunteered to represent that position. If you actually believed that position you could at least advocate for it and shut up Senator Graham, but pretending you were just doing your job was annoying.

    1. Yeah, did her boss just slap the Cato assignment on her desk, obliging her to set aside her personal beliefs in favor of detention without trial and zealously advocate for the client?

      I mean, it's possible, I suppose. Maybe.

  10. “and then there was his probing around an amicus brief Jackson filed on behalf of the libertarian Cato Institute”

    Well this explains all the positive coverage of her from Reason. Besides, you know, she’s a Democrat and they’re in full midterm mode.

    1. But it's funny, they're not complaining about Leahy and his pronunciation that the Supreme Court is ruled by "Dark Money" from the far-right Koch Brothers and the Federalist Society. It would be nice to see them addressing that kind of spurious nonsense, as well. They're only interested in the ridiculousness of Republicans right now, though.

      1. The difference in coverage between the two parties over the last couple weeks is blatant and disgusting.

  11. She believes in racial essentialism and is a proponent of sexually abusing children.
    End of story.

    1. Those are mainstream Democratic Party positions, so that's not too surprising. Especially considering she was nominated by a man whose own daughter wrote about how he used to shower with her inappropriately when she was a teen.

      One wonders why it was necessary to murder Jeffrey Epstein. They could have just put him in front of this judge (or any of the other Democrat-appointed judges).

  12. She apparently doesn’t know that CRT exists. Or she’s a damn liar.

  13. Another rousing meeting of Libertarians For Right-Wing Bigotry at reason.com.

    Carry on, clingers.

    So far as your betters permit, that is, and no further.

    1. Hey Art, sorry you missed my question in the other thread. Here it is again. 🙂

      You predicted Biden would appoint the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th Supreme Court Justices within 6 months of taking office. And here we are 14 months into his term and he's merely replacing one Justice who retired.

      So, how did you whiff so badly on that prediction? And will Biden add 4 new seats by, let's say, mid-2022 — which would still be a full year behind your original timeframe?

      #LibertariansForCourtExpansion

      1. Republicans managed to remain competitive enough to position a slack-jaw from West Virginia and a dingbat from Arizona to prevent Democrats from enlarging the Court.

        I expect it to occur when Democrats — taking advantage of the demographic changes that doom the bigoted, backward, and superstition-addled Republicans in a nation that becomes less White, less rural, less religious, less bigoted, and less backward each day — can overcome the objections of a West Virginia hayseed and a southwestern misfit.

        Are you one of the disaffected right-winger stupid enough to believe that Republicans are not going to continue to get stomped by their betters in the culture war?

        1. The only thing more comforting than the certain knowledge that you're a pathetic loser and that you and your kind will never have any real influence on society is that even if somehow your handlers succeeded in violently appropriating the means of power, your brains would be among the first splattered against a brick wall.

    2. Here’s Arty admitting he’s got kiddie porn on his computer. I honestly had no idea this was so pervasive among the left until the past year or so. Guess Buttplug is more normal than I thought.

  14. it is funny how the left always goes full retard when a republican is nominated. Take you pick from their concerns since the 80's: Scalia (Italians are all in the mob), Thomas (Uncle Tom), Alito (Italian, Catholic), Barrett (Catholic again) and yet the Dems who have only nominated Jews, one Central American, and now a Black Women will not even tolerate any criticism directed at their ideology. Which said plays the "bigot" card? Crickets at the NYT and WaPo and Reason.

  15. Sending a criminal to prison for, say, five years instead of 20 isn't really the same as approving his conduct. (and can't we go back to reckoning prison sentences in years not months?)

    Of course, a five-year sentence may be *inadequate* for what the convict did - that's a bit different.

    Also, saying that "locking up and punishing sex offenders should normally be based on criminal statutes in force when the offense was committed" is hardly the same as approving the offense. That the Supreme Court allows legislatures to retroactively tack on extra sentences for past crimes is unfortunate. Pass stern laws *in advance* so the penalties don't have to be jacked up later.

    There are other things to complain about regarding Judge Jackson:

    "While clerking for Justice Breyer, Judge Brown helped defend barbaric Partial Birth Abortions in Stenberg v. Carhart. In that case, infamous abortionist LeRoy Carhart tried to hide behind the Constitution to block a Nebraska law banning the cruel death.

    "The New York Times described it well, “In the procedure, a fetus is partly extracted from the birth canal, feet first, and the brain is then suctioned out.”"

    https://www.lifenews.com/2022/03/21/ketanji-brown-jackson-is-an-abortion-activist-who-should-not-be-on-the-supreme-court/

    1. Sorry, if you are in possession of child pornography and found guilty in court, and a judge sentences you to only five years in prison, they are being lenient of child pornography.

      1. Lifetime of harm to the children. It is a fucked up crime.

        1. It’s an embarrassing time to be a libertarian.

          1. Always has been. The term was invented by "reformed" Marxist professors and think-tank creatures in the 1970s.

    2. There are other things to complain about regarding Judge Jackson

      The hearings are political theater intended to damage the candidates as much as possible, as Democrats have illustrated time and time again.

      "She raped me at a frat party" obviously isn't going to fly since she lacks the necessary equipment. So, Republicans are looking for other ways to raise doubts about her character, and "she is soft on child pornography" works. It works particularly well because there is a strong record to support that assertion.

      1. "She raped me at a frat party" obviously isn't going to fly since she lacks the necessary equipment.

        Don't be too certain. "She" admitted that she cannot provide a working definition of the word "woman".

  16. Graham and Cruz are also speaking on behalf of their clients. Not on behalf of themselves.

    1. LOL! I imagined you saying that with a completely earnest look on your face and it made me laugh even harder!

      Well done!

      1. Probably made you laugh so hard you actually got a half-chub for the first time since your wife took your daughter away and you had to stop raping her, eh sarcasmic?

  17. "I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist, or though they are not valued, or though they are less than, that they are victims, that they are oppressors. I don't believe in any of that."

    --Ketanji Brown Jackson

  18. This is just random complaining about words by politicians. Why should we care about Reason writers' random complaining?

    1. Because it lays their hypocrisy out for all to see.

  19. What's her stance on MILF porn? Asking for a friend.

    1. She probably loves it. Keeps the fantasy that someone wants her alive.

  20. Everyone who votes to confirm her is a racist who believes it is ok to hire based solely on gender and race.

    1. Colorblindness is bigotry.

      Color Blindness Is Counterproductive
      Many sociologists argue that ideologies claiming not to see race risk ignoring discrimination.

      Many sociologists, though, are extremely critical of color blindness as an ideology. They argue that as the mechanisms that reproduce racial inequality have become more covert and obscure than they were during the era of open, legal segregation, the language of explicit racism has given way to a discourse of color blindness. But they fear that the refusal to take public note of race actually allows people to ignore manifestations of persistent discrimination.

    2. "solely on gender and race"

      No one thinks she isn't qualified. Just like ACB didn't get the gig solely because she is a woman.

      1. No one thinks she isn't qualified.

        Everyone with a brain knows she is unqualified, sarcasmic. The fact that she had to be selected because of her race and sex instead of on her merits was proof of that even before she provided the evidence with perfect clarity by opening her mouth.

  21. Maybe a 'lawyer' (professionals at twist and manipulate) is the last profession that should be upholding the people's law over the government.

    I nominate Rand Paul or John Stossell to the Supreme Court.

    1. Why would you nominate a progressive like Stossel? He would virtue signal about being a libertarian and then vote with the radical leftists.

      1. I don't think Stossel is a propagandist; but if you have info to share please do.

  22. I'd actually like to kkow more about her. That she doesn't adhere to mandatory minimums that she thinks are unfair, and that she thinks scumbags deserve a defense are no disqualifying to me.
    I want to know where she stands on 1a, 2a, 4a, 8a, 9a, 10a, 14a... Article 1, 2, etc.
    You know, all the stuff that those further left think is flexible.
    So far doesn't seem as bad as Sotomayor, but the media is handling with kid gloves.

    1. Why are we conflating 'mandatory minimums' (which aren't in the article) with 'federal sentencing guidelines' (which are in the article, and aren't mandatory).

      1. Because it makes going light on pedophiles seem noble instead of sick and twisted.

  23. Also, if she is from a restoration based denomination, the catholic question is as fair as any of the other religion questions that they aren't supposed to be asking.
    Restorationists don't think very highly of catholics. In today's speak, they'd call Luther a PINO squish.

  24. But a series of exchanges took that to new heights as the nominee spent a considerable amount of time outlining for the committee how being an attorney works and how basic trial practices play out in reality.

    That's nice. Too bad she couldn't "quite remember the basis for the Dred Scott decision", which is more relevant to this position than "how being a lawyer works".

    Too bad that SCOTUS hearings don't start like a law school oral exam, testing the candidate's knowledge and understanding of constitutional knowledge, because KJB would apparently fail and embarrass herself.

    1. I mean, ACB couldn't enumerate the rights under the first amendment. But she was quickly approved anyhow.

      1. Yes, she was! Given that progressives have turned SCOTUS into a partisan circus and given that any conservative male nominated to the court has to face preposterous accusations of sexual impropriety, even Republicans have to reach for the bottom of the barrel and approve their partisans quickly while they have a chance.

        Nevertheless, I think it is still good to expose incompetence of any SCOTUS candidate, if not for any other reason than to destroy the unwarranted confidence Americans have in the institution.

        What was your point again?

        1. What was your point again?

          The same as all of shreek's "points": Look! Over there! A herring! And it's red!

          Worth mentioning: nothing he said about ACB is actually true, while Biden's affirmative action nominee really is a literal fucking retard.

  25. Dishonest Republicans? Say it isn't so!

    1. Shreek lying and obsessively defending a child porn apologist? Well blow me down!

  26. Kavanaugh Kavanaugh Kavanaugh! Poor guy! Wow his hearing!

    Tell us about the Garland hearings Graham, you f..king asshole.

    1. The senate exercising its discretion to not hold hearings on a judicial nominee is exactly the same as fabricating a rape accusation against someone and then trying to burst through the doors of his hearing to kill him and his family!

      You're really fucking bad at this, sarc.

  27. Missing from his spiel was that in the vast majority of non-production cases—meaning a defendant was not charged with creating pornographic content but instead with viewing or possessing it—federal judges nominated by both Republican and Democratic administrations do exactly what Jackson did: sentence such offenders below the federal sentencing guidelines.

    Missing from his spiel?

    It's what his spiel was ABOUT.

    We already have too many judges that let pedos skate--we don't need MORE of them, and we CERTAINLY don't need them on the Supreme Court.

    I'd ask if the Epstein ring didn't bother you but it's looking more and more like there are too many people writing at reason who wanted to be on that plane...or maybe moved to Rotherham.

    1. It's almost as if Reason's sole benefactor is a trust fund billionaire who associates nearly exclusively with radical left wing pedophiles or something.

  28. This vile, nasty, nauseatingly racist affirmative action phony piece of trash is not fit to serve as a magistrate overseeing a municipal night-court. She is 100 per cent fake, 100 per cent phony, 100 per cent UNQUALIFIED. In addition to be dumber than a box of rocks and phonier than a three dollar bill, she is a pathological liar (doesn't know what a woman is--she's not a biologist, lol).

    I for one have had ENOUGH of this vile CRT trash. Black Hitler's legacy is going to destroy this country. Yes I know your lot wants another liberal and that's fair enough--but let's at least hold out for one with an IQ over 70 who doesn't have to depend on the very people she resents and despises with every fibre in her being to do any actual work for her ridiculous arse.

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