Judge Jackson’s Personal Policy Views Slanted Criminal Sentencing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Judge Jackson:
“I oppose Judge Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation for three main reasons.
“First, Judge Jackson has refused to follow the Ginsburg-Breyer model and denounce partisan court-packing. She testified she’d be, ‘thrilled to be one of however many.’
“Second, Judge Jackson was not sufficiently forthcoming on judicial philosophy to dispel President Biden’s public litmus test that he would only nominate a judicial activist.
“And third, Judge Jackson’s personal policy views on criminal sentencing have clearly slanted her jurisprudence.
“The average violent criminal who was convicted in Judge Jackson’s courtroom got a sentence nearly two years lower than the federal guidelines. The average drug criminal, gun criminal, sex criminal, and financial criminal before Judge Jackson all came in underneath the guidelines also.
“In the specific area of child exploitation crimes, the nominee was lenient to the extreme. The average federal judge sentences one out of every three child pornography possessors to a sentence within the stiff guidelines. Judge Jackson never did it once. The national average is 1 out of 3 and Judge Jackson went 0 for 11.
“As she told Senators repeatedly, this was not some case-by-case coincidence, but rather her consistent policy bias. ‘I was making policy determinations.’ ‘I have policy disagreements with certain aspects of the operation of the guidelines.’
“The Washington Post just interviewed a convicted possessor of child pornography who was supposed to get 8 to 10 years under the guidelines. The prosecutor wanted two years. Judge Jackson gave him three months. Her ‘policy disagreements’ in action.
“This criminal realizes he was lucky to end up in Judge Jackson’s courtroom. Here’s what he told the Post: ‘I wasn’t very happy that she gave me three months, though, after reflection when I was in jail, I was hearing from other people who said it was their first time arrested and they got five years, six years.’
“This is not a few cherrypicked cases. This is a consistent thread that runs through Judge Jackson’s accomplished legal career.
“In 2011, as Vice Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Judge Jackson reportedly made the jaw-dropping argument that if criminals are going to recidivate no matter what, it doesn’t matter whether we lock them up for a long time or let them out early. ‘If we keep them in jail for the extra 36 months, or whatever, they’re going to recidivate at the same rate.’ A U.S. Attorney replied with the obvious point that criminals can only reoffend if they’re back on the streets.
“In 2020, Judge Jackson rewrote the First Step Act from the bench to let a fentanyl trafficker out of jail early. In 2018, while initially sentencing this defendant, she apologized to him and voiced frustration that the law forced her to apply a tough sentence. Two years later, she twisted the law to let him out.
“Last year, Judge Jackson granted ‘compassionate release’ to someone who shot and killed a U.S. Marshal. The Parole Commission had repeatedly denied his release but Judge Jackson let him out.
“These are not personal criticisms of Judge Jackson. They are what the nominee herself calls them: policy differences. And policymaking is supposed to happen here in this chamber, not in the courthouse across the street.
“This isn’t just about this nomination. The Biden Administration has a sweeping project to make the whole federal judiciary softer on crime.
“Even as a violent crime wave sweeps America, the Biden Administration is pursuing an ideological mission to make the federal bench kinder and gentler to criminals.
“Judge Jackson’s record suggests she stretches the judicial role to advance that project.”
Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Crime