KBJ Confirmed to Supreme Court

On Thursday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to serve as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by a vote of 53-47. She will replace Justice Stephen Breyer and be the first Black woman to serve on the Court.

As RNLA highlighted frequently throughout the confirmation process, there are serious concerns about Justice to be Jackson.

Notably, she failed to articulate a clear judicial philosophy, one of the most important considerations when deciding whether to confirm a Supreme Court Justice. RNLA Chair Harmeet Dhillon wrote

Judge Jackson repeatedly claimed to not have a judicial philosophy. Instead, she suggested that she uses a “methodology” that she has developed throughout her time on the bench: utilizing “the arguments of the parties, the facts in the case, and the law that applies in every case” as “inputs” that aid her decision-making.

The problem is that this “methodology” wholly lacks substance, and Jackson described more of a functional strategy used by every judge, rather than a philosophical lens through which she views the law. A judicial philosophy is needed to inform how the law is read and how it applies to the facts of any case. 

When Jackson was giving curious answers about her non-philosophy, she paid lip service to textualism and originalism, discussing how she may rely on the original public meaning of laws used in deciding cases. Maybe, as Justice Elena Kagan said during her confirmation hearings, “we’re all textualists” now.

In written questioning, Jackson also failed to express an opinion about whether individuals have natural rights. Quin Hillyer explained:

Jackson first was asked to explain the American founders’ theory of “natural rights that are inherent or inalienable.” Jackson correctly identified it as being at the center of the Declaration of Independence, as stated in its famous phrase that people are “created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Then, she was asked if she had “a position on whether individuals possess natural rights.” Amazingly, she wrote: “I do not hold a position on whether individuals possess natural rights.”

Having identified the central theory undergirding the Declaration of Independence, she then declared agnosticism about it. . .

Not even Kagan, though (unless I missed it somewhere), ever went so far as to refuse to affirm that natural rights exist. Again, without natural rights, the entire edifice of American liberty collapses.

While Jackson declined to provide answers to simple questions about philosophy, her lack of answers leaves room for her to be the kind of justice that "dark-money" groups on the Left so fervently supported her to be.

Harmeet Dhillon continued:

Professor Jennifer Mascott’s testimony before the committee explains how Jackson’s “methodology,” as evidenced in her judicial opinions, would allow her to stray from the text of the law: “The approach embedded within certain lower-court decisions further suggests that the judge’s application of constitutional and statutory methodology would differ significantly from the approach of previously committed textualist and originalist jurists.” 

Finally, Senators were never given all of the information they had requested about Jackson's record, specifically about her record of sentencing defendants in child pornography cases.

Confirmed Justice Jackson will officially replace Justice Breyer at the end of the 2021-2022 Supreme Court term, sometime during the summer.