Ketanji Brown Jackson vows to defend Constitution on first day of Supreme Court hearings

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President Biden’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, has vowed to defend the country’s constitution.

Jackson made the vow while addressing the senators on the first of four days of confirmation hearings on Monday March 21, 2022.

He told the lawmakers she would “decide cases from a neutral posture” if they approve her nomination to the high court.

“Members of this committee, If I am confirmed, I commit to you that I will work productively to support and defend the Constitution and the grand experiment of American democracy that has endured over these past 246 years,” she told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“During this hearing, I hope that you will see how much I love our country and the Constitution, and the rights that make us free.”

With her family seated behind her, Jackson sat silently for most of the 4.5-hour session as the 22 committee members delivered opening statements and previewed their lines of inquiry for the two days of questioning ahead.

Chairman Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, stressed the historic nature of Jackson’s nomination, as she will be the first Black woman to serve on the high court if confirmed by the Senate.

“Today’s a proud day for America,” he declared.

Many Democrats echoed Durbin’s sentiment and lauded Jackson for shattering barriers with her nomination.

While Republicans, too, applauded Jackson for her nomination, they also previewed the aspects of her professional record they plan to examine, namely the sentences she imposed on child pornography offenders while serving as a judge on the federal district court in Washington and clients she represented as a federal assistant public defender and in private practice.

Many GOP members of the Judiciary panel pledged to avoid personal attacks on Jackson and chided their Democratic colleagues for their handling of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing in 2018.

But they still vowed to probe her judicial philosophy and views of the Supreme Court.

“When we’re focused on things that we have no business doing, like bringing forward spurious, last-minute, uncorroborated accusations of a personal nature, we neglect the importance of talking about the jurisprudential role, the philosophy that guides individual jurists,” Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, said.

Jackson’s four-day confirmation hearings began 24 days after Mr. Biden announced her as his nominee to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court.

While her appointment will not alter the ideological balance of the high court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, she will be the second-youngest justice at 51 years old if confirmed and is positioned to serve for decades.

Currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Jackson served on the federal district court in Washington for eight years and was a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

The questioning phase of the hearings begins Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., and will continue on Wednesday. Thursday, the last day of hearings, will feature testimony from the American Bar Association and other outside witnesses.

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