How Has Critical Race Theory Influenced Judge Jackson’s Views And Work?

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Once Said That ‘Critical Race Theory’ Influences Sentencing Policy, But Without The Records Of Her Work On The U.S. Sentencing Commission, The Judiciary Committee Can’t Ascertain How Much She May Have Relied On Critical Race Theory In Her Work On The Commission


Judge Jackson Told Students In A 2015 Lecture That ‘Critical Race Theory’ Influences Sentencing Policy

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: “I also try to convince my students that sentencing is just plain interesting on an intellectual level, in part because it melds together myriad types of law – criminal law, of course, but also administrative law, constitutional law, critical race theory, negotiations, and to some extent, even contracts. And if that’s not enough to prove to them that sentencing is a subject is worth studying, I point out that sentencing policy implicates and intersects with various other intellectual disciplines as well, including philosophy, psychology, history, statistics, economics, and politics.” (“Biden’s Supreme Court Pick Championed Advocates Of Critical Race Theory In Lectures, Speeches,” The Daily Wire, 3/17/2022)

And In A 2020 Lecture, Judge Jackson Cited A Book That Influenced The Creation Of Critical Race Theory As ‘An Important Part Of Her Childhood’

“During the same 2020 lecture, Jackson cited the late Derrick Bell, whose works influenced the creation of CRT, and said his 1993 book, ‘Faces At The Bottom Of The Well: The Permanence Of Racism,’ was an important part of her childhood.” (“Biden Supreme Court Nominee Jackson Praised NYT's 1619 Project During MLK Day Speech,” Fox News, 3/17/2022)


Judge Jackson’s Sentencing Commission Records Would Shed Light On Whether She Used Critical Race Theory To Influence Sentencing Policy, But Democrats Have Rushed Ahead With A Hearing Before The Records Could Be Produced For The Judiciary Committee

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member: “I was disappointed we weren’t able to get bipartisan agreement to ask for Judge Jackson’s documents from her time as Vice Chair at the Sentencing Commission. The Commission is an independent agency created to ‘advise and assist Congress and the executive branch in the development of effective and efficient crime policy.’ Unfortunately, it sounds like we’ll have to wait until those documents are required to be released—20 years from now. Democrats have argued her time on the Commission is an important part of Judge Jackson’s experience that she’ll draw on as a judge. They’re right. That’s why it would’ve been good to see what her views were. As the head of the Commission explained in a letter to Senator Durbin, the public documents turned over to this Committee represent the consensus views of the Commission, not necessarily Judge Jackson’s own views.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 3/21/2022)

  • SEN. GRASSLEY: “White House [&] Dems keep saying Judge Jackson’s Sentencing Commission experience is central to resume for Supreme Court. But we still haven’t seen any internal records from her work there. We get these records for other SCOTUS nominees. Why not Judge Jackson?” (Sen. Grassley, @ChuckGrassley, Twitter, 3/17/2022)


During A 2020 Lecture, Judge Jackson Praised The 1619 Project, Which ‘Historians Have Flagged The Project For Incorrect Statements And Interpretations’ As It Argues That America’s True Founding Was Not In 1776, But 1619 When The First Slaves Were Taken To Virginia

“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden's Supreme Court nominee, praised the controversial 1619 Project and its author Nikole Hannah-Jones during a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day address at the University of Michigan two years ago. In a January 2020 lecture, titled, ‘Black Women Leaders In The Civil Rights Movement Era And Beyond,’ Jackson described Hannah-Jones as an ‘acclaimed investigative journalist’ and highlighted Hannah-Jones’ ‘provocative’ assertion that ‘the America that was born in 1776 was not the perfect union that it purported to be.’” (“Biden Supreme Court Nominee Jackson Praised NYT's 1619 Project During MLK Day Speech,” Fox News, 3/17/2022)

  • KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: “This same theme resounds throughout ‘1619,’ the popular new historical accounting published by the NYTimes. … [A]cclaimed investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones (who happens to be a black woman) explains that the men who drafted and enacted the Constitution founded this nation on certain ideals: freedom; equality; democracy. Yet, at the time they formulated these principles, the institution of slavery already existed in the colonies—ever since the year 1619, when 20-to-30 Africans who had been captured in their homeland arrived in the colonies by ship and were exchanged for goods. Jones highlights the irony of the situation even further when she notes that at the very moment that Thomas Jefferson penned the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence, a black relative—a slave— had been brought into his office to serve him. Thus, it is Jones’s provocative thesis that the America that was born in 1776 was not the perfect union that it purported to be, and that it is actually only through the hard work, struggles, and sacrifices of African Americans over the past two centuries that the United States has finally become the free nation that the Framers initially touted.” (Ketanji Brown Jackson, Lecture, 1/20/2020)
  • JACKSON: “In one especially poignant segment of the podcast, Jones says: ‘[W]e are raised to think about 1776 as the beginning of our democracy. But when that ship arrived on the horizon . . . in 1619 [, the] decision made by the colonists to purchase that group of 20 to 30 human beings— that was a beginning, too.’” (Ketanji Brown Jackson, Lecture, 1/20/2020)

“Hannah-Jones' 1619 Project at The New York Times Magazine is an ongoing initiative seeking to ‘reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.’ Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary last year for the project and was named to TIME's list of the ‘100 most influential people.’ Historians have flagged the project for incorrect statements and interpretations. Five academic historians signed a letter claiming the 1619 Project got several elements of history wrong, including a claim that the Revolutionary War was fought to preserve slavery. The Times has defended the project.” (“Biden Supreme Court Nominee Jackson Praised NYT's 1619 Project During MLK Day Speech,” Fox News, 3/17/2022)



Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Supreme Court