The “fact-checkers” and mainstream media went into full-defense mode as hearings began to confirm (or reject) the appointment of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, working to discredit valid questions about her record.
An alarming pattern
Criticisms of Jackson were initiated by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) for her “alarming pattern” of ” letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes.” Citing her “opinions, articles, interviews & speeches,” Hawley presented seven cases as evidence of what he described as an “alarming pattern when it comes to Judge Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders, especially those preying on children.”
“Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and policymaker,” the Senator wrote on Twitter. “She’s been advocating for it since law school. This goes beyond ‘soft on crime.’ I’m concerned that this is a record that endangers our children.”
Stigmatization and ostracism
Bringing many specific cases, Hawley highlighted Jackson opposed making “convicts register as sex offenders—saying it leads to ‘stigmatization and ostracism.'”
The Missouri senator also critiqued Jackson’s time serving on the US Sentencing Commission, saying she had “advocated for a drastic change in how the law treats sex offenders by eliminating the existing mandatory minimum sentences for child porn.”
Just as concerning is Jackson’s opinions on abortion. Pro-life advocates have described her as being radically pro-abortion, saying that her record on abortion “is so extreme that horrifying late-term abortions will again be in the news.”
Jackson has not ruled in a case concerning abortion; however, her opponents cite her ruling in McGuire v. Reilly. Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, described Jackson’s her comments in the amicus brief on behalf of pro-abortion organizations in which she repeatedly disparaged the peaceful and often prayerful clinic protesters as engaging in “in-your-face” and “chaotic” activity that somehow fell short of “pure speech.”
“Ketanji Brown Jackson is backed by many of America’s most radical pro-abortion groups,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “She is on record opposing the free speech rights of pro-life advocates pleading to save lives outside abortion centers and supporting the false claim that abortion is ‘health care.’ We have no doubt she will work with the most pro-abortion administration in history to enshrine abortion on demand nationwide in the law.”
Soft on crime
In addition, Jackson’s opponents cite multiple decisions she made as a federal trial court judge that was reversed on appeal. She also has a record of being soft on crime. During her tenure as vice-chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, the Commission reduced its sentencing recommendations for crack-cocaine offenses, advocated the repeal of mandatory-minimum sentences, and raised concerns about demographic disparities in sentencing.
Biden pledged during the 2020 United States presidential election campaign to appoint a Black woman to the court should a vacancy occur. He fulfilled this promise when he nominated Brown to replace Associate Justice, Stephen Breyer. The latter announced his retirement in January amidst rumors that he was pressured into the decision by members of the Democratic party. If confirmed, Jackson would be the first black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.