Judge Jackson’s Boosters Say “Empathy” Will Tilt Her Jurisprudence

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Supreme Court:

“Next week, the Judiciary Committee will hear firsthand from President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Jackson.

“It will be a serious, dignified process. The American people need answers to more important questions than what somebody wrote in the nominee’s high school yearbook.

“The Senate needs to examine Judge Jackson’s qualifications. We need to examine her judicial philosophy and see if she will apply laws as written and weigh cases without favoritism. And we need to explore why the farthest-left activists in the country desperately wanted Judge Jackson in particular for this vacancy.

“Judicial philosophy is a key qualification for the Supreme Court. There are a lot smart lawyers in our country. But they don’t all understand that a judge’s proper role is to apply the text of our laws neutrally. Some would rather start with liberal outcomes and reason backwards.

“So it’s unsettling that senior Democrats have lauded Judge Jackson for the, ‘empathy’ they suggest shapes her judicial approach.

“If you’re the litigant for whom a judge has special preexisting empathy, well, it’s your lucky day. But the other party is being denied their fair day in court.

“The Senate Democratic Leader, the House Majority Whip, and multiple legal academics all say Judge Jackson will rule with ‘empathy.’

“Helpfully, one professor clarified which kinds of litigants would benefit from her empathy. He proposed that because of Judge Jackson’s ‘ample criminal defense experience,’ she would, ‘bring a measure of empathy to the criminal defense cases, the Fourth and Fifth Amendment cases.’   

“Liberals are saying that Judge Jackson’s service as a criminal defense lawyer and then on the U.S. Sentencing Commission give her special empathy for convicted criminals.

“Her supporters look at her resume and deduce a special empathy for criminals. I guess that means that government prosecutors and innocent crime victims start each trial at a disadvantage.

“This isn’t my assertion. This is what the nominee’s liberal supporters are saying.

“In fact, the nominee has all but said it herself. Here’s what the Washington Post reported last year when Judge Jackson was nominated for the D.C. Circuit.

“‘She and her allies credit her work as a public defender as helping her develop empathy.’ And here they quote the nominee herself — ‘There is a direct line from my defender service to what I do on the bench and I think it’s beneficial.’

“Look, nobody is saying that public defenders ought to be disqualified from judicial service. It’s an important role. But as the New York Times reported this week, the Biden Administration is on an intentional quest to stuff the federal judiciary full of this one perspective.

“Even amid a national crime wave, a disproportionate share of the new judges President Biden has nominated share this professional background that liberals say gives judges special empathy for criminal defendants.

“Here’s the New York Times. ‘It is a sea change in the world of judicial nominations… The type of high-profile murder cases handled by some of Mr. Biden’s nominees would have been considered disqualifying only a few years ago; now the president… is actively seeking to name more jurists who have such experience.’

“It’s not just Judge Jackson. ‘At least 20 other lawyers with significant public defender experience have been nominated by the Biden administration.’ One soft-on-crime advocate marveled to the reporter, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’

“President Biden is deliberately working to make the whole federal judiciary softer on crime.

“Even liberals admit as much; they just applaud it. But with murders and carjackings skyrocketing nationwide, I doubt the American people feel the same way.

“I look forward to learning more about how Judge Jackson believes her service as a criminal defense attorney leads her to interpret the text of our laws and our Constitution differently than other judges.

“If any judicial nominee really does have special empathy for some parties over others, that’s not an asset. It’s a problem.”


Related Issues: Crime, Senate Democrats, Judicial Nominations, Supreme Court