MEMO: The Case Against Judge Jackson’s Elevation To The Supreme Court

TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Senate Republican Communications Center
RE: The Case Against Judge Jackson’s Elevation To The Supreme Court
DATE: April 5, 2022


This week, the full Senate is set to take up Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. Yet, Judge Jackson’s prior judicial experience and her inability to answer basic questions throughout the confirmation process underscore why Leader McConnell announced that he could not support her nomination to the high court.

As the full Senate begins debate on Judge Jackson’s elevation to the Supreme Court, the following themes will be important to watch:


Judge Jackson Dodged Questions About Court Packing

During their tenures, both Justices Ginsburg and Breyer forcefully spoke out against Democrats’ push to pack the Supreme Court. Yet, given multiple opportunities to echo that position, Judge Jackson repeatedly dodged the question, while relying on an already debunked talking point that Justice Barrett had also similarly declined to take a position on court packing.

Most worryingly for those Americans who care about the institutional health of the Supreme Court, Judge Jackson left the door open to supporting court packing, saying in response to a question from Senator Kennedy that she “would be thrilled to be one of however many Congress thought it appropriate to put on the court,” even if that number was 28. She also admitted to Senator Kennedy that she had a personal opinion on court packing and that she could “hear the arguments on both sides,” but refused to divulge that personal opinion.


Judge Jackson Refused To Answer Questions On Her Judicial Philosophy

During President Biden’s presidential campaign, he told voters that he would only appoint Justices to the Supreme Court “who have a view of the Constitution as a living document.” That worldview has empowered judicial activists to make policy from the bench for decades. Therefore, Judge Jackson’s answers to questions about her judicial philosophy could not be more vital to evaluating her qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court. Yet, at every opportunity Judge Jackson refused to answer questions about her judicial philosophy.  

During her Judiciary Committee hearing, Senator Graham asked her what the judge’s judicial philosophy was. Judge Jackson wouldn’t answer that simple question, only saying she had a judicial methodology. Nor could Judge Jackson answer Senator Grassley’s question about what past Justice’s judicial philosophy was most similar to hers. Incredibly, she could not even answer Senator Sasse’s question asking her to explain Justice Breyer’s judicial philosophy, the Justice she clerked for.


Judge Jackson’s Prior Judicial Experience Shows She’s Soft On Crime

While Judge Jackson refused to answer questions about her opinion of court packing or her judicial philosophy the details of her record as a district court judge could not be similarly obfuscated. What that record showed is that Judge Jackson gave a multitude of criminals light sentences, often ignoring the sentencing guidelines in doing so. One example highlighted by Senator Cotton involved Judge Jackson granting a self-described fentanyl “kingpin” compassionate release, even though the sentencing guidelines called for 20 years in prison. Shockingly, when asked if Judge Jackson had taken into account the victims in this case, Judge Jackson claimed “there were no victims.”

Judge Jackson’s repeated light sentences for individuals convicted of child porn crimes was also litigated during her confirmation hearings. Nothing underscores more Judge Jackson’s soft on crime approach to child porn offenders than the testimonial of one of the individuals she sentenced for these crimes. Judge Jackson sentenced Wesley Hawkins to only three months in prison, even though sentencing guidelines called for his crimes to receive eight to 10 years. Speaking with The Washington Post, Hawkins said that he was initially angry about Judge Jackson’s sentence, until he got to prison and started comparing his three month sentence with the years people sentenced for similar crimes received:

Perhaps most surprising, Hawkins said, was that he found himself feeling sympathy for the judge he had once been angry with for sending him to prison.

“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.

Significantly, Judge Jackson’s light sentences for child porn offenders is breaking through with the American people. One poll last week found that a majority of Americans feel very or somewhat concerned about how Judge Jackson “treated child pornography cases.”



Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Supreme Court, Crime