The African-American magistrate Ketanji Brown Jackson, whose Senate Judiciary Committee examined this Tuesday, March 22, the candidacy for the Supreme Court, vigorously defended herself against attacks by Republican senators accusing her, among other things, of her supposed laxity in cases of child pornography or the support given to it by certain “leftist associations”.
After several hours of rather polite interrogation, the Republican Ted Cruz thus accused her frontally of having throughout her career “advocating for sexual predators” having, as a federal judge, “pronounced sentences lower than the requisitions in 100% of child pornography cases” which were submitted to him. “As a mother, these cases horrified me” and “I still sometimes have nightmares about it”she retorted, leaving for the first time a hint of emotion. “I have always treated them very seriously, like all the other crimes that have been submitted to me. »
Senator Josh Hawley returned to the charge a little later, insisting at length on his decision to sentence a man arrested in possession of child pornography to three months in prison, while prosecutors were asking for at least two years of detention. He had just left high school and other elements of the file were specific, justified the magistrate.
“If you looked more broadly at the hundred or so decisions that I rendered, and those of other judges (…)you would see that we all try to take into account all the relevant factors to deliver justice in an individualized way”, she added. Several elected Democrats abounded by recalling that at the national level, 70% of the sentences pronounced in cases of child pornography were lower than the scales fixed by Congress.
“Critical Theory of Race”
These passes of arms, in a rather purring hearing, should not derail the candidacy of Judge Jackson. Appointed by President Joe Biden to the Supreme Court, this brilliant 51-year-old jurist should, unless surprised, get the green light from the Senate in early April and become the first black woman to sit on the high court. According to a survey Politico-Morning Consult, 47% of Americans want it confirmed and only 19% oppose it.
Beyond the symbol, his arrival, to replace resigning judge Stephen Breyer, will not change the balance within the temple of American law, where the conservatives will keep a solid majority of six seats out of nine. This low stake explains why most elected Republicans do not fight fiercely to counter his candidacy. However, those with presidential ambitions have used his hearing to echo their favorite themes.
Beyond his outburst on pedophiles, Ted Cruz also hinted that Judge Jackson supported the “critical race theory”. In the minds of conservatives, this theory is taught in school and forces white children to see themselves as oppressors and black children as victims.
“It is an academic theory that analyzes racism at the institutional level” and “is only taught in my opinion in law school”she retorted. “But I’ve never studied it or used it in my work as a judge and I won’t if I’m confirmed to the Supreme Court. »
“Judges should not talk about politics”
Other elected Republicans have criticized her for having defended Guantanamo detainees or hardened criminals when she was a lawyer in the legal aid services in Washington from 2005 to 2007. In the United States, all accused have the right to a lawyer , she replied: “That’s what makes us great. »
“Members of my family are in the line of fire, so I am very committed to public safety”she also pointed out, recalling that her brother and two of her uncles were or had been police officers.
saying to themselves ” trouble “ by the fact that several “leftist associations” support her candidacy, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked her if she was “militant”. ” No “she retorted. “I don’t import my personal views or preferences” in my decisions, she hammered repeatedly.
On political subjects, in accordance with custom, she was evasive. In particular, she refused to comment on the calls, made by several elected officials and left-wing associations, to create new seats within the Supreme Court to dilute the influence of conservative magistrates. “In my opinion, judges should not talk about politics. »