Judge Jackson’s Rulings From The Bench And Sentencing Commission Experience Are Obviously Important To Explore

Are Democrats Seriously Suggesting That Examining Judge Jackson’s Rulings As A Judge And Her Experience On The U.S. Sentencing Commission Are Beyond The Pale, After They Themselves Cited Those Very Things As Key Qualifications?


Democrats Have Pointed To Judge Jackson’s ‘Near Nine Years On The Federal Bench’ And Said Her Service There Means ‘Judge Jackson Will Bring To The Court Insights Into The Issues Confronting Federal District Courts’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “[I]f confirmed, Judge Jackson would have one of the most diverse professional backgrounds of any sitting Justice. Throughout her career, she’s been a federal defender; worked in private practice; sat on the U.S. Sentencing Commission; served as a district judge; and as a circuit court judge on the D.C. Circuit. And of course, she was a clerk to Justice Breyer, the very same Justice whose seat she would now fill. As a district judge, Judge Jackson rendered more than 550 rulings ...” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 3/02/2022)

  • SCHUMER: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's vast experience and her near nine years on the federal bench make her extraordinarily well qualified to bear the title: Supreme Court Justice!” (Sen. Schumer, @SenSchumer, Twitter, 3/17/2022)

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman: “[L]ate last month, President Biden announced the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court…. Over the past 10 days, we have all had a chance to learn about her record, and last week I met with her in my office. I would like to share what impressed me the most about her. First is her breadth of experience…. She went on to serve as a Federal district court judge. Currently, she sits on the DC Circuit, often regarded as the second highest court in the land. And once confirmed, she will be only the second current Supreme Court Justice with experience as a trial court judge. That means Judge Jackson will bring to the Court insights into the issues confronting Federal district courts every single day. And these same questions often make it to the Supreme Court for final review.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.1034-1035, 3/08/2022)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “[W]ith nine years of judicial experience … Judge Jackson has proven that she is an excellent jurist who understands the experiences of everyday Americans.” (Sen. Klobuchar, Press Release, 3/03/2022)

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “Judge Jackson is an experienced judge … I was also pleased to meet with a nominee who comes before us on the strength of her qualifications and experience …” (Sen. Whitehouse, Press Release, 3/08/2022)

Judge Jackson’s Sherpa Also Said That Preparing For Her Hearing Involved ‘Making Sure We Go Through All Of Her Record And Go Through The Cases’

FORMER SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL), Judge Jackson’s Supreme Court Sherpa: “[W]e wanted to get with Judge Jackson and to start the preparation for her hearings -- for meetings on the Hill that will begin this week. That looks at her record, making sure we go through all of her record and go through the cases. Go through the constitutional principles that she's going to be called on to judge as a member of the Supreme Court.” (CNN, 2/28/2022)


Democrats Have Also Said Judge Jackson ‘Will Draw On Her Broad Range Of Experience On The United States Sentencing Commission’ If She Is Confirmed To The Supreme Court

Sentencing-Commission Years Prepped Jackson for High-Court Job … Jackson’s experience on the sentencing commission at a pivotal moment in its history will help her and the court if she’s confirmed, according to lawyers with commission experience and scholars who’ve studied the organization. (Bloomberg Law, 3/17/2022)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “And once again following in the footsteps of her mentor, Justice Breyer, [Judge Jackson] would become the only member of the Court who previously served as a member of the United States Sentencing Commission. … Incredibly, Judge Jackson has already been confirmed by the United States Senate three times. First, to serve on the U.S. Sentencing Commission — a bipartisan, independent commission we help — I helped design to reduce the unwarranted disparities in sentencing and promote transparency and fairness in the criminal justice system. On the commission, Judge Jackson was known for working with Democrats and Republicans to find common ground on critical issues.” (President Biden, Remarks, 2/25/2022)

DURBIN: “[Judge Jackson is] a jurist who understands the importance of pragmatism and real world experience. She will draw on her broad range of experience on the United States Sentencing Commission, as a federal public defender, as a litigator in civil lawsuits, and private practice. Judge Jackson has also demonstrated the premium she places on collegiality and consensus building, especially with those who may not share her views.” (Sen. Durbin, Press Release, 3/01/2022)

  • DURBIN: “Over the past ten days, we’ve all had a chance to learn about her record, and last week I met with [Judge Jackson] in my office. I’d like to share what impressed me the most about her. First, her breadth of experience.  Graduate of Harvard Law School, she’s worked in private legal practice. She served as a federal public defender and served on the United States Sentencing Commission.” (Sen. Durbin, Press Release, 3/08/2022)

DOUG JONES: “I think her background and her experiences as a defender on the Sentencing Commission where she worked in such a bipartisan way with conservative judges, all of that I think breaks in favor of a strong bipartisan vote… If people really look at her record, I think she deserves a bipartisan vote.” (Punchbowl News PM, 3/02/2022)


FLASHBACK: Democrats Used To Say That ‘Everybody Knows’ A Supreme Court Nominee’s Record On The Bench Is ‘The Most Important Indicator’ Of The Kind Of Justice She Would Be Because ‘[I]t’s The Record, Stupid’

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY):[I]t’s the record, stupid. What do I mean by that?  I mean that, given the dearth of information discoverable at the hearing, the single most important measure of a nominee’s judicial philosophy and likely approach on the bench is his or her concrete, paper record. When Justice Alito sat on the Third Circuit, we knew from his dissents that he was usually to the right of his Republican colleagues on the bench. That was the most important indicator of how he would judge on the High Court.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks to American Constitution Society, 7/31/2007)

SCHUMER: “We have heard you asked about snippets of statements … but we have heard precious little about the body and totality of your 17-year record on the bench, which everybody knows is the best way to evaluate a nominee.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 7/14/2009)

  • “[Judge Sotomayor’s] ‘critics must be getting desperate if they’re grasping at straws like this,’ said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., adding that senators should focus on Sotomayor’s 17-year record as a judge rather than ‘fishing expeditions.’” (“Legal Group’s Records Tell Little About Sotomayor,” The Associated Press, 7/01/2009)

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): “We have Judge Sotomayor’s record from the Federal bench. That is a public record that we had even before she was designated by the President. Judge Sotomayor’s mainstream record of judicial restraint and modesty is the best indication of her judicial philosophy. We do not have to imagine what kind of a judge she will be because we see what kind of a judge she has been.” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, S. 6920, 6/23/2009)

“Democrats … have mounted an aggressive defense of [then-Judge Sonia] Sotomayor, arguing that her extensive record in the courtroom makes speculation on how her public statements or other activities will affect her tenure on the Supreme Court meaningless. ‘There’s no reason to speculate about her record. She’s participated in over 3,000 panel decisions. There’s a long paper trail and record’ from which to judge her qualifications, a White House official said.” (“GOP Escalates Attacks on Sotomayor,” Roll Call, 6/24/2009)

Former Obama White House Officials: A Supreme Court Nominee’s ‘Record Of … Federal Judicial Experience … Is Undoubtedly The Best Indicator Of The Kind Of Justice She Would Be’

THEN-OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL GREG CRAIG: “Judge Sotomayor has already fully and in good faith answered her Committee questionnaire, providing detailed answers and thousands of pages of documents for review. This includes the full record of her 17 years of federal judicial experience, which is undoubtedly the best indicator of the kind of Justice she would be.” (Gregory B. Craig, White House Counsel, Letter to Sen. Sessions, 7/02/2009)

“The best evidence ‘of how she’d be as a judge are the 17 years of legal opinions that she has written and that she herself has worked on not a box or boxes of documents that she didn’t write, review or approve,’ said Robert Gibbs, the [Obama] White House spokesman. ‘I think there has been plenty of time to review the record.’” (“Republican: Sotomayor Had Ties To Extreme Group,” The Associated Press, 7/03/2009)



Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Supreme Court, Senate Democrats