US Supreme Court nominee Jackson vows independence amid Republican attacks

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WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s nominee to change into the primary Black girl on the US Supreme Court, pledged independence if confirmed and embraced a restricted position for jurists as a Senate panel on Monday (March 21) opened a affirmation listening to by which her report got here underneath Republican assault.

In her opening assertion to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jackson additionally famous that her mother and father grew up within the period of racial segregation within the South.

“My parents taught me that, unlike the many barriers that they had had to face growing up, my path was clearer, such that if I worked hard and believed in myself, in America I could do anything or be anything I wanted to be,” she stated.

During opening statements, Democrats hailed the historic nature of her choice and praised her report as a federal appellate and district courtroom choose.

Republicans raised questions on her report – together with a harsh assault by Senator Marsha Blackburn – and tried to hyperlink her to advocacy teams on the left, whereas signaling they’d attempt to paint Jackson as “soft on crime.”

Biden, who as a candidate in 2020 pledged to nominate a Black girl to the courtroom, final month nominated Jackson, 51, for a lifetime job on America’s prime judicial physique to succeed retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, organising a affirmation battle within the carefully divided Senate.

“Members of this committee: If I am confirmed, I commit to you that I will work productively to support and defend the Constitution and the grand experiment of American democracy that has endured over these past 246 years,” Jackson stated in her opening assertion.

“I know that my role as a judge is a limited one – that the Constitution empowers me only to decide cases and controversies that are properly presented. And I know that my judicial role is further constrained by careful adherence to precedent,” Jackson stated.

“I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously. I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath,” she added.

If confirmed, she could be the 116th justice to serve on the excessive courtroom. “Not a single justice has been a Black woman. You, Judge Jackson, can be the first,” stated Senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic chairman of the committee.

“It’s not easy being the first. You have to be the best and in some ways the brightest. Your presence here today and your willingness to brave this process will give inspiration to millions of women who see themselves in you,” Durbin added. Durbin stated attacks on Jackson’s method to felony justice points are baseless and stated her judicial report confirmed she wouldn’t be a “rubber stamp” for Biden.

Durbin famous that legislation enforcement organisations together with the Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed Jackson’s nomination. “I hope that you will see how much I love our country and the Constitution, and the rights that make us free,” Jackson stated.

As the listening to unfolded, Biden touted his nominee, writing on Twitter: “She’s a brilliant legal mind with the utmost character and integrity. I know she’ll make an exceptional justice.”

Some Republican senators promised civility, accusing Democrats of unfairly attacking Justice Brett Kavanaugh throughout his 2018 affirmation listening to after a university professor got here ahead to accuse him of sexual misconduct a long time earlier, which he denied. But different Republicans attacked her. “I can only wonder: what’s your hidden agenda?” requested Blackburn. “Is it to let violent criminals, cop killers and child predators back to the streets?”

The committee’s prime Republican, Senator Chuck Grassley, stated Republicans “won’t try to turn this into a spectacle” and can deal with Jackson with respect however will “ask tough questions about Judge’s Jackson’s judicial philosophy.”

Several Republicans sought to hyperlink Jackson to liberal teams which have supported her nomination and stated they’d ask her whether or not she helps efforts on the left to develop the Supreme Court as a option to erase its present 6-3 conservative majority.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz indicated he would ask about points resembling free speech, non secular liberty, gun rights, abortion and crime. Cruz sought to tie Jackson to Democratic efforts to reform the felony justice system within the aftermath of the 2020 George Floyd killing in Minneapolis – efforts Republicans counsel are liable for an increase in violent crime.

Senator Lindsey Graham, one in every of three Republicans who voted to substantiate Jackson to her present place, signalled that his vote was not sure. Graham stated Republican nominees have been requested powerful questions by Democrats in prior affirmation hearings about their judicial philosophy however Republicans could be referred to as racists in the event that they do the identical.

“It’s about ‘we’re all racists if we ask hard questions.’That’s not gonna fly with us. We’re used to it by now,” Graham stated.

Jackson faces questions from senators on Tuesday and Wednesday. Biden’s fellow Democrats narrowly management the Senate, which has the authority underneath the US Constitution to substantiate a president’s judicial appointments.

The Senate beforehand has confirmed Jackson to 3 federal posts together with final yr, when Biden nominated her to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after eight years as a federal district choose in Washington.

Her affirmation wouldn’t change the ideological stability of the Supreme Court, which incorporates three conservative justices appointed by Biden’s Republican predecessor Donald Trump.

But it could let Biden freshen the courtroom’s liberal bloc with a justice younger sufficient to serve for many years.

Jackson was raised in Miami and attended Harvard Law School, later serving as a Supreme Court clerk for Breyer. If confirmed, she could be the third Black justice, following Clarence Thomas, appointed in 1991 and nonetheless serving, and Thurgood Marshall, who retired in 1991 and died in 1993.

Jackson would change into the sixth girl to serve on the Supreme Court, which at present has three feminine justices.

A easy majority vote could be wanted for Jackson’s affirmation, that means she would get the job if all Democrats are united behind the nomination no matter what Republicans do in a Senate divided 50-50 between the 2 events.

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