As you may have heard, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has gone up for the most recent round of confirmation hearings. Judge Jackson appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for her first Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Monday, March 21 at 11 a.m. ET, and the hearings are lasting until Thursday. During her opening statement, Jackson thanked God and her family for their support, and assured senators that she takes her “duty to be independent very seriously… I decide cases from a neutral posture,” she said. “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 added.
Amidst her hearings she faced a volley of aggressive questions regarding her legal career and the cases that went up in front of her. Democrats are hoping to win bipartisan votes for President Joe Biden’s historic nominee, but Republicans have portrayed Jackson as “soft on crime” in her nine years as a federal judge. Jackson, supported by committee Democrats, pushed back on that GOP narrative in more than 22 hours of questioning, explaining the sentencing process in detail and telling them: “nothing could be further from the truth.”
The final, four-hour long hearing on Thursday featured not only legal experts but government officials and civil rights group leaders who supported Jackson and her legal philosophy, as well as quite a few conservative advocates who opposed her.
During these hearings, the Democrats celebrated the historic nature of Jackson’s nomination and praised her unique experience and legal record. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin’s opening statement emphasized the groundbreaking nature of Jackson’s nomination to the highest court: “Not a single justice has been a Black woman. You, Judge Jackson, can be the first,” Durbin said. “It’s not easy being the first. Often you have to be the best. In some ways, the bravest. Many are not prepared to face that kind of heat, that kind of scrutiny, that ordeal and the glare of the national spotlight,” he added. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar highlighted the important role Supreme Court justices play in rulings that impact everyday people. The court “must be able to see the real people at the other end of its rulings,” she said during her opening statement.
Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin said he expects his committee will vote April 4 on sending Jackson’s nomination to the full Senate. Until the final date is released she must be approved by the committee, and then she may move on to a full Senate vote. All we can do is wait.