In Contrast to Democrats, GOP Signals Respectful Questioning for KBJ Hearing

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up the first day of Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. From the start of the hearing, it became clear that the atmosphere of the hearings would be night and day from the hearings for former President Trump's nominees to the Court (Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch). Ranking Member Chuck Grassley explained during his opening statement:

We will conduct a thorough, exhaustive examination of Judge Jackson’s record and views. We won’t try to turn this into a spectacle based on alleged process fouls. On that front, we’re off to a good start. Unlike the start to the Kavanaugh hearings, we didn’t have repeated, choreographed interruptions of Chairman Durbin during his opening statement like Democrats interrupted me for more than an hour during my opening statement at the Kavanaugh hearing.

What we will do, however, is ask tough questions about Judge Jackson’s judicial philosophy. In any Supreme Court nomination, the most important thing we look for is the nominee’s view of the law, judicial philosophy and view on the role of a judge. I’ll be looking to see whether Judge Jackson is committed to the Constitution as originally understood.

Senators Lindsey Graham and Ben Sasse opined that no matter what Judge Jackson says during the hearings, she will not be attacked the way the Republican nominees were.

The theme throughout Monday's hearing was that there are several questions that remain unanswered about Judge Jackson's record on everything from critical race theory to her record on sentencing in child porn cases heading into the questioning portion of the hearings.

Specifically, RNLA laid out the following questions that we hope will be answered during the hearings in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley:

1. Role on the Harvard Board of Overseers

What was Judge Jackson’s role on the Harvard Board of Overseers regarding admission standards for Asian students and did she received confidential information regarding the lawsuit currently pending before the Supreme Court? While she may refuse to do so at the hearing, she must affirmatively pledge to recuse herself from the upcoming Supreme Court case at her hearing if she has been involved in any internal discussions of the case or strategy regarding it, she was involved in creating or approving the admission standards at issue in the case, or she has received confidential information regarding the case or its background.

2. Judicial Philosophy

What is Judge Jackson’s judicial philosophy? During her confirmation to the United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, she failed to articulate a coherent judicial philosophy in response to written and verbal questioning.

3. Service on the U.S. Sentencing Commission

During Judge Jackson’s service on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, what positions, if any, did she take on sentencing for serious crimes such as child sex offenses? We understand that the release of some of Judge Jackson’s records may be beyond her control, but the shortened confirmation timeline places a higher burden on her to discuss these concerns during her confirmation hearings.

Read RNLA's letter to Senators Durbin and Grassley in its entirety here.

Concerns with Judge Jackson's record are underscored by the fact that her nomination is being supported by a public campaign by leftist dark money groups like Demand Justice who attempted to bully Justice Breyer into retiring early and support the radical upheaval of the judicial system.

RNLA looks forward to a productive and respectful week of hearings and, hopefully, answers to the outstanding questions Republicans have about Judge Jackson's record.