Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson at the gates of the United States Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson, candidate for the United States Supreme Court, during his hearing by the Senate, in Washington, March 23, 2022.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson appointed on February 25 by President Joe Biden to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the United States Supreme Court suffered a difficult hearing at the Senate Legal Affairs Committee.

If confirmed by the upper house, she will be the first African-American to sit in this court which plays a major role in the lives of Americans. Of a total of 115 justices in two hundred and thirty-two years, the Supreme Court has counted only two blacks: Thurgood Marshall, legendary figure in American history, from 1967 to 1991, and Clarence Thomas, 73, since 1991 – he has been hospitalized since March 18 with an influenza infection.

In two days, the former federal judge from Washington had to answer 642 questions, including less than 20% on her legal philosophy. Patiently, on Wednesday March 23, she came under attack from several ultra-conservative senators who summoned her to answer new questions in the confirmation process.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Ketanji Brown Jackson, first African-American justice on the Supreme Court

“Are babies racist? », questioned Ted Cruz while brandishing a children’s book in the hope of getting him to comment on the “Critical Race Theory” the workhorse of the Republicans, eight months before the midterm elections. “What is a woman? », also wanted to know the Texas senator, wondering if, under the “modern leftist sensitivities”, deciding “at this moment that I am a woman” could not make him a woman. It was about another Republican fad: transgender athletes. “I am not a biologist, she ventured. I know that i am a woman. And the woman I admire the most is in this room: my mother. »

Senator Josh Hawley (Missouri) for his part tried to present this mother of two children, aged 51 and a Harvard graduate, as a magistrate of suspicious indulgence in cases of child pornography. He read indictments so descriptive that the public broadcaster PBS, which was broadcasting the hearing live, asked him to notify him if he was doing it again so that it could warn its listeners in case children were found. ‘listen. It was about a man found in possession of 6,700 videos involving children. The judge inflicted on him fifty-seven months in prison, a third less than required by the prosecutor.

A classic career, an extraordinary career

The Democrats defended their candidate by showing that of the fourteen child pornography cases she had to judge – out of some 500 criminal cases for which she wrote the conclusions in her career -, in ten cases she had imposed equivalent or greater sentences. to the required sentences. She herself tried to explain that the law that defines penalties according to the number of images possessed was written before the Internet, which facilitated the sharing of a large amount of pornographic material, but her explanations were constantly interrupted .

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