Ketanji Brown Jackson must continue her testimony

There is no more solemn duty obligating the Senate than to advise upon the nomination of a Supreme Court justice.  Few other matters will ever be as weighty or have results as potentially long-lasting.

Controversy has swirled for two years, ever since Biden's announcement that he would nominate a black woman to the United States Supreme Court.  The blatant discrimination, racism, and sexism in both his statement and the actuality stick in many Americans' throats — for good and numerous reasons.

So far, Judge Jackson has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Since then, it's been revealed that the White House shared documents with the Democrat members of that committee but not the Republicans.  The government has refused to release documents to the committee from her time on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.  The courts have not released even redacted court documents that some committee members requested, documents that would shed light on Judge Jackson's judicial philosophy.

And now Judge Jackson's written responses to questions from the Senate committee have been made public.  Andrea Widburg provides a thorough review of her extremely disturbing answers (page 79) regarding natural law.

A perusal of her 303-page response to the committee's questions shows that this is not her only statement that might need clarification.  Her very first answer, on what constitutes her judicial philosophy, was a dry recitation of her judicial process — two very different things.  Further questions (page 9) elicited a description of her judicial approach, still not the same thing.

Image by Andrea Widburg using a YouTube screen grab.

On page 15, Judge Jackson says, "[O]ffensive speech may be entitled to First Amendment protections."  She then cites a decision that declares firmly that such speech is protected.  As I mentioned in a previous article, sloppy writing.  Sloppy thinking?  Careless words have no place on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Now that Judge Jackson's written responses are in, senators need an opportunity to further explore with her the foundations of her judicial philosophy.  They need to clarify with her what she indicated by "natural law" so that both sides understand what was asked and what the answer means.  It is imperative that she be given a full hearing on her suitability for the nominated position.  Hanging controversy helps no one here.

Will Judge Jackson continue to make interpretations of the law in the same manner that resulted in some of them being overturned (page 28 and following)?  Does she truly, as she contends throughout, adhere to the full constitutional meaning and precedent, or has she simply been unsuccessful in having bench-made law stick?

Senators need an opportunity to explore further her use of non-statutory language (page 34) and caustic rhetoric (page 328).

By continuing to call "illegal aliens" (statutory language) "noncitizens" (page 112), she persists in refusing to acknowledge that some noncitizens are lawfully admitted permanent residents, some are lawfully admitted temporary visitors, some were lawfully admitted but are now out of status, and some have never been lawfully admitted.  She muddles the language at the same time she claims to be speaking clearly and making the law understood.  Will she persist in using non-statutory language if confirmed?

It would be interesting to know whether she prepared these responses by herself or if she had help drafting her answers.

Senators should take every opportunity to further clarify her words and her suitability for such a position.  I stand by my previous call to vote against her confirmation.  Absent that, one can only hope Justice Breyer changes his mind.

Anony Mee is the nom de blog of a retired public servant.

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