HomeNewsWill Ketanji Brown Jackson Write History as the First African-American SC Judge?

Will Ketanji Brown Jackson Write History as the First African-American SC Judge?

More than 23 hours of grilling and tough questions. Becoming a US Supreme Court judge doesn’t come easy. The federal court judge Ketanji Brown was nominated by Joe Biden as his first choice.

The Harvard Law School graduate comes with an impeccable legal track record and is known to have delivered some of the most famous judgments. She earned respect from the entire legal community in America.

Gruelling days of Hearing

Liberals and conservatives speak high of her. Progressives favour her nomination over other judges. however, the process after the nomination is even tougher. Jackson endured more than 24 hours of grilling by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Alex Padilla spoke highly of her nomination. The hearing underwent a flood of emotions. Jackson said, “I hope to inspire people to try to follow this path because I love this country because I love the law because I think it is important that we all invest in our future.” 

However, Republican members tormented Ketanji on a series of conservative issues like critical race theory and transgender rights. They even grilled her on her lengthy resume.

Jackson will have to wait for two more weeks before her confirmation as the Supreme Court Judge. The Senate Judiciary aims to vote for Jackson on April 4, 2022. If they vote in her favour.

Republican senators also targeted Ketanji on her sentencing record involving child pornography. They stated that Ketanji has been too lenient in sentencing child-porn offenders. However, facts suggest otherwise. Ketanji has an excellent sentencing record if compared to other judges.

Ketanji’s body language

Ketanji Brown comes from experience. She has even won many uncommon victories against the government during her practising days. During the Senate hearing,  Jackson maintained a deliberate speaking pace and remained calm.

She was not seen raising her voice on either of the days. Of course, there was some change in her expressions when Republicans hammered her for hours on child-porn cases. For example,  Tom Cotton, R-Ark., asked Jackson about one decision she regrets.

Ketanji Jackson replied: “What I regret is that in a hearing about my qualifications … we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on this small subset of my sentences.” However, Democrats continued to praise Ketaji for her impeccable career and defended her against the criticism.

Republican turns hostile

It comes as a shock that during her approval, Sen. Lindsey Graham was one of the three ardent Republican senators to vote for her. Now, Graham has changed his thoughts. he is vehemently opposing Brown’s elevation as a Supreme Court judge.

Graham was seen interrupting Ketanji every time she tried to answer. He even aggressively accused her of judicial activism in her past ruling in an immigration case. Further, he went on criticizing her over the child-porn case.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky also opposed Ketanji. He stated on the Senate floor that “I went into the Senate process with an open mind, but after studying the nominee’s record and watching her performance this week, I cannot and will not support Judge Jackson for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”

Will Democrats prevail?

As a matter of fact, Democrats have a majority. So it doesn’t matter if a few members from the Republicans turn hostile. They have a clear path of sailing through but again, a confirmation would be incomplete without a Republican drama.

There is a possibility that the committee vote might end in a tie. Hearing reveals that 11 Democrats are set to support Jackson while 11 Republics are expected to oppose her. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said, “A tie-vote doesn’t stop us, it shows us down on the floor for a few hours, but it doesn’t stop us.” Well, he made a lot of sense there.

However, the Democrats are hoping to secure Ketaji’s confirmation before April 7, 2022, because then the Senate leaves for its Easter recess.  But here’s the catch, Republicans have limited ways to stop Ketanji’s nomination. One is to boycott the voting process.

However, several Republicans have rejected this idea. Let’s know how it can be done. Here’s how. The committee rules state that two members of the minority party shall be present to establish the quorum needed for a vote to take place.

If no minority members are present, the vote cannot move forward. Additionally, a majority of the committee needs to be present to report nominations on the Senate floor. Now let me tell you, this is not happening. Republicans have no reason to do so. Therefore, Democrats have an upper hand in this case.

The Decision day

Senator Durbin has forcefully rejected GOP’s demands to see pre-sentencing reports in the child-porn case. The Republicans accused Ketaji of overlooking them. However, Senator Durbin called it a politician exercise and refrained from doing it.

Now, the Democrats hope to have a bipartisan vote. For those who don’t know, a Bipartisan vote comes as a mutual understanding between two parties on common ground. Therefore, Democrats are trying to win over Republican members like Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Mitt Romney (R-UT).

Even if this doesn’t happen, they have a fair chance of swaying her nominations through. The next Senate Judicial Committee voting is slated for April 4, 2022. Ketanji said, “Liberty cannot be denied without due process.” Let’s see where Ketanji’s nomination heads next.

I have a strong feeling that Ketanji is about to go down in history. I say that because Ketanji has a diverse and ripe experience to take over this highly-regarded responsibility of delivering justice. What do you think?

Mallika
I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.
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