tv Supreme Court Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmation Hrg CSPAN March 21, 2022 3:51pm-6:22pm EDT
>> >> all >> 22 senators on the judiciary committee will be each given 30 minutes to ask judge jackson questions. you can find more information about judge jackson on our website along with past confirmation hearings and in the c-span video library. we have president ronald reagan's -- in 1986 through president donald trump's nomination of judge amy barrett. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government.
>> this hearing of the senate judiciary committee will come to order. welcome judge jackson. >> thank you, senator. >> this is a moment you have much to be proud of. i know you have family members and friends, we all look forward to hearing those introductions later. i want to note i am sorry judge clarence thomas was hospitalized yesterday. i speak for all those of the committee that we wish for his speedy recovery. i want to go over the ground rules for the hearing. the committee has 10 minutes to make an opening statement. we will go switching between
democratic and republican senators. once they have made their opening statements, we will hear from judge thomas griffith, professor lisa fairfax who is here today to introduce judge jackson. each member will have five minutes to make an opening statement. finally judge jackson will conclude today's events. tomorrow we will begin again. for those sitting in the audience, welcome to be here to witness this special occasion. i asked to be respectful and quiet during the hearing. do not stand up unless you are entering or exiting the room. we ask our distinguished members of the council to sit down, if you refuse, you will be exported out. any disruption will result in immediate removal. i ask our audience members to be respectful of the cabinet. we are here to ensure everyone's
safety. with that, opening statements. judge jackson, thank you for being here today with your family. the supreme court has a long and storied history having been filled by many superb justices in this country. but the reality is the court's members have never really reflected the nation they serve. when the supreme court met for the very first time in 1790 in the exchange building, there were nearly 700,000 slaves without citizenship in this new nation of nearly 4 million. neither african-americans nor women have the right to vote. there was no equal justice for a majority of people living in america. for more than 230 years, the
supreme court hasn't had a lot of justices. 108 have been white men. two justices have been men of color and have served on the court. and one woman of color. you, judge jackson can be the first. it is not easy being the first. you have to be the best, and in some ways, the greatest. if you are not prepared to face that kind of heat, that kind of scrutiny in the national spotlight, but your presence today to brave this process gives inspiration to those who see themselves in you. on the steps this morning of the supreme court to see the rally, there were so many young, african-american women there seeing your pursuit. in other important ways, nominees have come before us. president biden, because he knew
your qualifications were outstanding. you have been confirmed -- with bipartisan support. the constitution is for americans, not just the wealthy and powerful. and the judiciary. today is a proud day for america. we know that we still want to form a more perfect union. it is something this a moment will also barack
obama, said while we cannot with the late justice john paul stevens, president obama said, while we cannot replace wisdom, i will seek someone who is similar. an independent mind, a record of excellence, integrity to the rule of law, and a keen understanding of the daily lives of america. much like justice stephen you , cannot replace justice breyer, but in you, we have a nominee who embodies the same qualities. your independent-minded and understand the critical in the part -- critical importance of -- critical importance. your record of integrity, from the championship debate team, from senior high school, to harvard, to your three judicial clerkships, your work as a defender a lawyer in private practice, a federal district judge and circuit court judge.
throughout your career you have been a champion for the rule of law, even at the risk of public criticism. a bipartisan group, which is reflective of the american thinking on enforcement, you set up with truly congressional intent when it came to criminal sentencing fair, and you did it by finding common ground. during the 10 year commission, 85% of the commission's votes were unanimous. for example, the commission implemented -- implements the act, reduced the 100 to one citizen disparity, and you joined every one of your colleagues to make that change to the sentencing guidelines once elected. you bring a powerful speech, and i am going to quote it, you said there is no excuse for the
discredited guideline. you must carry on as if none of this has happened. the favor of this activity is the commission, republicans and democrats share your view. you have gone to great lengths to explain how the law affects real people. indeed with your nomination, we can become a, that the court and its role and its decisions will be more understandable to the american public. in the time explaining decisions and the consequences, and just last year, for the d.c. circuit hearing, you described how you take extra care in the recordings. you added, and i quote, i speak to them directly and not just to their lawyers. i use their names. i explained every stage of the proceedings because i want them to know what is going on. as a result, you have made the law more approachable to litigants and american people. it can make it easy today, at its core, the responsibility you seek is one of service.
and i am fairly confident you will serve americans from all walks of life, all backgrounds. there may be some who claim without a shred of evidence that you will be a rubber stamp for this president. for these would-be be critics i have four words look at the , record. your complete record has been scoured by this committee on four different occasions, 600 written opinions, read and reread. 12,000 pages of transcripts minutes, from the commission. , your soaring testimony before the committee less than a year ago, everything published has been spoken and detailed answers to questions. for those who look for more, every number on the status of the committee, democrats and republicans. a fair review on all of this makes clear the value that you have and principles. you have been before and against presidents and administrations
of both parties, prosecutors, ruling for workers and their employers, and you have been faithful to people without knowing their political cause. once again, your record and the process that led to this nomination belie that claim. to suggest that you are here merely because an organization supports you, ignores your qualifications and the support you bring to this. in selecting this president , biden has a transparent selection process. peace out the input of senators from both parties, senator grassley and i met with the president, he invited us to see any nominees that we care about. at the end of the day, the president alone chose you. he has put his faith in you to deliver justice at the highest level of the court. i share that faith. in announcing the nomination the , president spoke to many, and noted the perspective, as the
first justice since thurgood marshall with considerable criminal defense experience and is the second current justice, only the second, to serve as a federal crop -- trial court judge. the fact they come from a law enforcement family, shared -- despite your record, we have heard claims that you are soft on crime. these charges are unfair. the conservative column is called, meritless to the point of demagoguery. the fly in the -- that they would approach her nomination with out respect. including a washington post, abc news and cnn, have expose some of these charges and falsehoods. critics have stood in accusing the claims that were represented, even though they know your work as an attorney
was in-service to the bill of rights and the constitution's promise of affective assistant counsel. law enforcement officials and organizations, including the international association chief -- chiefs of police, the national organization of law enforcement and the fraternal order of police have endorsed your nominee. i am confident the american people will see any last-minute attendance to derail your confirmation. in closing, i want to share the words, if you will bear with me, of a man named abraham lincoln. in august 1864, at the height of the civil war, president lincoln addressed the 166 ohio regimen. lincoln said to the soldiers and i quote, i have been temporarily to occupy this big white house i , am living witness that one of your children may look to me as your father has. judge jackson, you are a
temporary occupant of the seventh, the house, even with a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. you are one of mr. lincoln's living witnesses of an america that is unafraid of challenge, willing to risk change, confident of the basic goodness of our citizens and you are a , living witness to the fact that in america, all is possible. i now recognize my colleague and friend the ranking member, , senator grassley. sen. grassley: judge jackson, congratulations, welcome to you and your family. i thank you for taking time to visit with me in my office after the president nominated you. since president biden nominated you to the supreme court, i have been encouraging my colleagues to schedule meetings with you judge jackson, and they have come out. in addition, i have continually emphasized the need for a thorough respectful, process by the committee.
now i want to talk about what everyone watching should expect from this hearing and what they should expect of the hearing. 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 upon alleged process faults. good news on that front, we are off to a very good start. unlike the start to the kavanaugh hearings, we did not have repeated choreographed interruptions of chairman durbin during his opening statements, like democrats interrupted me for more than an hour during my opening statement on the kavanaugh hearings. what we will do, as ask tough questions about judge jackson's judicial philosophy.
in any supreme court nomination, the most important thing that i look for is the nominee pose a -- view of the law, judicial philosophy, and a view of the role of the judge in our constitutional system. i will be looking to whether judge jackson is a defender of -- committed to the constitution. we all know there is a difference of opinion about the role judges should play. some of us believe judges must interpret the law as it was understood and written, not make a new law or simply fill in back. those of us who share that view think that, under our constitution, congress and not the federal courts are given the authority to make law and to set policies. now there are others who believe that the courts should make policy.
they believe in a so-called living constitution. they think that the constitution's text and structure do not limit what a judge should do. to them, we say it is, quote -- to them deciding what the constitution means is a quote unquote, "value judgment." under that approach, judges can exercise their own independent value judgments. one of the leading advocates for this approach explained that as a judge, reach the answer that essentially your values tell you to reach. in other words, those who have tried to this philosophy, think the founders really meant to hide elements. then, with a bit of creativity, these judges can always find that element. that sounds like a good job
description, instead for legislators and not for judges. but for at least four years democrats have systematically , ordered against many well credentialed nominees that were diverse professionally diverse , geographically, diverse religiously, and diverse ethnically. was it racist or anti-women for them to do so? i don't believe that it was. democrats did it because the nominees did not agree with living constitutionalism, just as republicans have opposed nominees based upon their judicial philosophy. there are lots of problems with living constitutionalism. in the senate, we spending a lot of time writing legislation. we argue over the language we , negotiate over how broad of an
-- broad or narrow certain provisions of the law should be. if we can't convince our colleagues to adopt all of our ideas, we have been known to compromise every once in a while. we depend on judges to interpret laws as we write them. if judges impose their own policy preferences from the bench and essentially revise the laws we pass, it makes it harder for us to write good laws. sometimes we need to include a provision that is very broad to get a colleague's support. if a judge rewrites a law later, because of a vague notions of fairness or equity or common good, that unravels all of our work here in the congress. more importantly, the american people should be able to read the law and know what it means. they should not have to ask how a federal judge who disagrees
with the law could reinterpret the words on that page. all of this leads to the conclusion as to why we must carefully examine federal judges' records, especially supreme court nominees. judge jackson has served as an assistant public defender, worked in private practice and , served in the united states sentencing commission. she also served as the federal district court judge from 2013 to 2021. she served on the d.c. circuit court since june of last year. i am sure senators will have a few questions for judge jackson about her decisions since joining the d.c. circuit. as for the court record, there have been some accusations that we cherry picked some of judge jackson's criminal cases.
well, don't worry, we are going to talk about other cases as well. i was disappointed that we were not able to get bipartisan agreement to ask for judge jackson's documents from her time as vice chair of the sentencing commission. the commission is an independent agency, created to advise and assist congress, and the development of the effective and efficient policy. unfortunately, it sounds like we will have to wait until those documents are required to be released. that will be about 20 years from now. democrats have argued that judge jackson's time on the commission is an important part of her experience, that she will draw on as a judge. the democrats are right on that point. that is why it would be good to
see what her views were as the head of the commission, explained in letters to senator durbin, public documents turned over to this committee represent the consensus views of the commission and not necessarily judge jackson's own views. the obama white house sent us roughly 68,000 pages of material, but more than 38,000 of the 68,000 pages are repeated copies of email threads that are keeping track of the tweets about the garland nomination. those emails contain just one tweet about judge jackson. more than 13,000 of the 16,000 -- 60,000 pages are just lists about the previous nominations.
that leaves only 68,000 that we received from the white house that aren't obviously useless, like all the other documents we received. but, for comparison, the white house still withheld 148,000 pages under the presidential records. that is a lot of hiding. the limited number of useful records that we received from the obama white house, showed exactly why the commission documents would have been important. there are a number of dark money groups on the left that argue federal judges should make policy decisions based on judges' own values. i talked about the troubling role of dark money groups, like what has played in this administration judicial
selection process. it is not crating short list for president biden to pick potential nominees from, the running his campaign, casting -- attacking the independence of the judiciary. they strongly supported the so-called progressive prosecutors. who are tough on violent crime in the face of violent crime waves in cities like san francisco, philadelphia, boston, and los angeles. now, what does that have to do with the nominee before us? the obama white house records indicate that a cofounder of the demand played an important role in judge jackson's nomination to judicial court. the demand just as cofounder even interviewed judge jackson about the nomination into the commission. it would be helpful to know what
what the justice cofounder learned from that process and why they strongly support judge jackson. however, it has not all been bad on the document front, i want to be clear. we asked for briefs that are not a viable online for d.c.'s -- are not available online for d.c. circuit judge that judge jackson worked on as an attorney. at first, we were told they might not be available a few weeks, but to our pleasant surprise, we received them early apparently because the white house had asked for the documents as well. judging by timetables, we were given the briefs, that request was made after she was announced. those documents concern judge jackson's time as assistant federal public defender.
democrats have accused republicans of vilifying nominees who represent criminal defendants. that is just not the case, and i think that is a very unfair accusation. previous supreme court nominations have also represented criminal defendants on appeal. they were appointed by a supreme court represented defendant in an important terminal law case, and he also represent an inmate in a florida death row. and justice barrett represented a criminal defendant, appealing their conviction, while she was in private prison. -- in private practice. now, i have distinguished between two types of nominees, whoever worked in criminal cases, they are bill of rights attorneys who want to protect defendants' constitutional rights. then there are what i call criminal defense lawyers who
disagree with our criminal laws. they want to undermine laws that they have policy disagreements with, and, of course, that is a very important difference. just a year ago -- no, maybe it is now two years ago -- democrats had no trouble opposing nominees based on arguments these nominees made on behalf of clients. i can read off quotes of democrats doing that to trump nominees but we only have a few , minutes for these opening statements and i have run out of time. on a final note during justice , barrett's confirmation hearing, democrats said that she was, "a judicial torpedo, aiming at protections for pre-existing conditions." we heard that argument repeatedly. conservatives and anyone who actually looked at her record and laws said that that was strictly nonsense.
but democrats were sure otherwise, well, when that case was finally decided, democrats were put in law. i am sure that will not deter any of my democrat colleagues for making some confident predictions this time around as well. the public record should remember, their track records and perhaps take those claims with a grain of salt. they were wrong in their strong declarations how justice barrett would rule, judge jackson, congratulations on your nomination. i look forward to hearing from you about your record, your views on the law, and your judicial philosophy. thank you. >> former chairman of the committee, patrick leahy. >> thank you mr. chair. judge jackson welcome, it is
good to see you again. today and throughout this week the committee and the country are going to hear from judge jackson. she has been nominated to be the next associate justice of the united states supreme court. any nomination to the court's historic. there have only been 115 justices in our nation's history. judge jackson's nomination is historic in more ways than one. her nomination, pending confirmation by the senate, will bring us one step closer to having a supreme court that is more reflective of our nation. one with diversity of race, gender, background of education. an experience that will allow all americans to look at the court and see in its justices a reflection of the american people.
judge jackson, with your presence here today you are writing a new page in the history of america, a good page. who the president nominates and the senate decides to confirm, before the federal judiciary especially to the nation's , highest court, is extremely important. the american people, our constituents, and their faith in the courts is central to our democracy. they lose that faith, democracy loses. the decisions made in our courts and ultimately in the supreme court affect the daily lives of each one of us. fundamental questions about, for example, access to health care, the integrity of our elections, the fairness of our criminal justice system, the preservation of bedrock, environmental laws protections for workers. , these issues and many more are
routinely decided by the court. every american must believe that the court is going to be impartial. they must believe our courts are not a mere political arm of the executive or the congress, but faithful only to the rule of law. mistakes in democracy are simply too high. let's make a few things clear. judge jackson is known as a judicial activist. she is not a puppet of the so-called radical left. she has been praised by republican appointed judges, lawyers from the right and the left who appeared before her in court and called her judicious and evenhanded. i tried a lot of cases in trial court and courts of appeal. that is what i wanted, somebody who was judicious and evenhanded. i did not care what their
politics were. judge jackson is not anti-law enforcement. she hails from a law enforcement family. she is also one of the supporters of preeminent law enforcement organizations, including the national paternal order of police. no, she is not soft on crime. her background as a federal public defender would bring an informed perspective on our criminal justice system to the supreme court. i am proud of being a former prosecutor. the confidence in my prosecution of a case was strongest when i knew the defendant had the best possible representation. when both sides and the presiding judge have a real grasp on our criminal justice system that is when justice is most likely to be done. so, i would say judge jackson's background is not a liability to
the court, it is a much needed asset to the court. and since her nomination, today we have learned about the long, distinguished record of judge jackson. graduate of harvard. harvard law school. a judicial clerk, federal district court judge, and member of the u.s. sentencing commission, an attorney of private practice, and a a federal public defender. what a resume. all of these experiences and perspectives have provided her mastery of our justice system. in particular, the criminal justice system. if she is confirmed, she would become the first ever justice to have served as a federal public defender. that is an important experience
given how much the court shapes our criminal justice system. i say that from experience as a senator but also my experience for nearly a decade as a prosecutor. and perhaps most of all it is judge jackson's nearly 10 years as an appellate and trial judge to underscore the experience she would bring to the supreme court. she was confirmed unanimously by the senate in 2013 to the d.c. circuit court. she served with distinction for eight years, issued over 500 opinions, presided over a dozen trials. a bipartisan majority of the senate confirmed her to the d.c. circuit court of appeals last year. let's be honest. she is a fair and impartial jurist with fidelity to the law above all else.
that is what americans want to see in the supreme court justice. years of so-called judicial wars have left americans feeling like the court has become increasingly partisan. the extreme pressures from both sides of the political spectrum have left the american people wondering if they can get a fair shake in our courts. and yet, in this moment we have before us a unique opportunity to change that narrative. i am under no illusion that we can mend this process overnight. but we have before us a nominee who has brought us together across party lines before and one i hope that can bring us back together again. the senate can change course on how we fairly and objectively evaluate nominees. we can do that with the highly
qualified nominee we have in judge jackson. as chair durbin said, i am the pro tempore of the senate. i'm a former chairman of this committee. i have participated in 20 nomination processes, mostly into confirmations. a small handful. the first was john paul stevens. i supported nominees from both democratic and rubble -- both democratic and republican presidents. judge jackson, i find a distinguished nominee with unassailable records. and respect regardless of party. the american people will see what i have come to learn in my review of her career and her life story her nomination is a reflection of our democracy.
we have start to become more inclusive, more representative. we look to elected officials and judges to strengthen our democracy and to recognize our strength comes from our diversity. judge jackson's story, her nomination today as part of the evolving story of america. so judge jackson, i want to , congratulate you on this nomination. despite all the darkness in the world, the political breaks of the ship has become a hallmark of congress in recent years. your nomination fills me with hope. hope for the court. hope for the rule of law. hope for the country. one need look no further than the chaos, the devastation, and the inhumanity halfway around the world in the ukraine to know
how precious our democracy is and how precious the legacy we have in our independent judicial -- independent federal judiciary. i need look no further than my own grandchildren, all of them, to know how necessary our fight for freedom, fairness and equality is. the independence and impartiality of our courts through the supreme court are cornerstones of the great experiment that is the united states. and you, the american people, have a nominee in whom you can be proud. we have before us an historic moment and i hope we can meet it as senators. i look forward to your testimony. thank you. >> thank you, senator lahey. next up is another former chair of the committee, senator lindsey graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. congratulations well-deserved. it is an honor. you have worked hard all your
life and must be proud. i have said in the past i think it is good for the court to look like america. so count me in on the idea of making the court more diverse, and in the history of our country, we have never had an african-american woman serve on the court. i also said i want the court to play a particular role in america. one is making it look more like the country but also make it operate in the confines of the constitution. that did not get a lot of coverage. the hearings are going to be challenging for you, informative for the public. and respectful. i hope we can meet those criteria. it will not be a circus, we are off to a good start. chairman grassley could not get the first word out of his mouth before they shut down the place.
so that's off to a good start. most of us could not go back to our offices during kavanaugh without getting spit on. hope that does not happen to y'all. i don't think it will. as to the historic nature, i understand, but when i get lectured about this from my democratic colleagues i remember janice rogers brown, the african-american woman, that was filibustered by the same people. remember miguel estrada? one of the most finest people i have ever met. completely wiped out. she did not make it to the gang of the support team. i have been in so many i cannot remember. he did not make the cut. his life completely ruined. if you are hispanic or african-american conservative, it is about your philosophy. now it is going to be about the historic nature of the pick. it is going to be about your
philosophy. the bottom line is when it is about philosophy when it is somebody of color on our side, it is about, we are all racist if we ask hard questions. that is not going to fly with us. we are used to it by now, at least i am. it is not going to matter to us. we are going to ask you what you think you need to be asked, and senator hawley, you need to ask about her record as a district court judge. i hope you do. we will see what she says. a very fake -- a very fair game. president biden had a choice here and he has every right to make it. elections have consequences. we had many qualified african-american women to choose from. he chose you. michelle chow from south carolina supported by jim clyburn. that was in the mix. i think it came down to about 2, 3, four people, i do not know for sure but that was what the press was reporting. when it came to judge chow this
group said she talked about dark money. you may be onto something. this group that is funded by other liberals. they got so many groups within the group i cannot name them all now but they basically said if you pick chow you may have a primary opponent. they said she was a union buster. the attacks from the left against judge chow was vicious to be honest. you say, judge jackson, you don't have any judicial philosophy per se. well, somebody on the left believes you do. or they would not have spent the money they spent to put you in this chair. we are going to find out how that statement holds up over time. she will be asked about her sentencing practices as a district court judge and she
will have a chance to explain. you can make up for yourself what this means but it is good to be asked. about her legal views. i will ask her about the law of armed conflict and her view of the law of armed conflict. it is not a problem with me. everybody deserves a lawyer. you are doing our country a great service when you defend the unpopular people. but i want to know about your briefs after you're no longer defense counsel decides issues. that matters a lot to me. i think it does matter that the groups who came to your aid at the expense of judge chow, how did that happen and how are they doing what they are doing? what is it about your nomination that the most liberal people under the umbrella of arabella through in their money, time, support and threatened joe biden
if he picked judge chow? i want to know more. i want to know about your judicial philosophy because people on the left, the far extreme part of the left, believe that you were the best bet. i want to know why they reached that conclusion. maybe there is no explanation you can give us but we will talk about that. this is not kavanaugh, what does that mean? it means that democratic senators are not going to have their windows busted by groups that's what it means. , it means no republican senator is going to unleash on you an attack about your character when the hearing is virtually over. none of us i hope have been sitting on information about you as a person for weeks or months. you come into our offices and we never shared with you to allow to give your side of the story.
we wait until the very last minute when the hearing is about to be gaveled, concluded and say, by the way, i have got this letter. it so happened every media outlet in the country had the letter too. so the next morning the headlines all over the country really, accusing judge kavanaugh of being basically bill cosby. none of us are going to do that to you. and if any of us does that to you, all hell will break out and it should. the media will be your biggest cheerleader. they are in your camp. they have every right to pick who they want to pick. there will not be the constant attacks on you like judge kavanaugh and other conservative judicial appointments. there will not be any questioning of where you go to church what kind of groups you , are in in church, how you decide to raise your kids, what -- how you believe in god.
nobody is going to do that to you and that is the good thing. you are the beneficiary of a lot. you are the beneficiary of republican nominees having their lives turned upside down. and it did not work. i am hoping we can have a hearing that is respectful, informative, that is challenging, and president biden has every right to pick who he would like to pick. that comes with winning the white house. i have been very inclined to support the pix of people i would not have chosen. but this is a new game for the supreme court and this game is disturbing to me. there has been a wholesale effort of the left to take down a nominee from my state. and i don't like it very much. if that is the way the game is going to be played, i will have a response and i don't expect it to be rewarded that we have
playing the game. judge chow would have gotten 60 plus votes. there has been people in my caucus that would have voted for her even though we knew she would be a reliable liberal vote. i and senator scott would have stepped up. now we are facing a choice sponsored by the most radical element of the democratic party when it comes to be a judge. they have the most radical view of what a judge should do. and you were there choice. you will be asked, do you support expanding the supreme court? i hope you will give us an answer because it should not be hard, either you do or you don't. justice ginsburg said no. she thought if you just change the number of the court every time somebody new came in to power it would ruin the court in , the eyes of the public and make it a joke overtime.
i agree with that. i hope you can give us an answer to that question because i think the court would be better off if the judges stood up for the court. if the judges told politicians, don't play this game with the court because over time nobody wins. so, congratulations. it is going to be a couple of interesting days and we are off to a better start than we have been in the past. the one thing i can promise you, you will not be vilified, you will not be attacked for your religious views, you will not be accused of something you could not defend yourself against until it was too late. thank you. >> thank you, senator graham. senator feinstein? >> thanks very much, mr. chairman. i want to begin by congratulating you, judge jackson, on this appointment. i have reviewed the records of a number of judicial nominees
during my service on this committee. this is actually the 10th set of confirmation hearings for a supreme court nominee that i have participated in. looking at your record it is clear that you have the qualifications and the experience and the knowledge needed to serve on the supreme court. and as a woman it makes me very proud of that. as we begin these hearings we as senators take seriously our constitutional duty to advise the president on his appointment of a new supreme court justice. in the current term alone, the supreme court is addressing cases on issues that are foundational to who we are as a country. let me give you three examples. the court is considering a woman's fundamental right to control her own body and make
her own health care decisions. it is considering the legal authority of the environmental protection agency to fight climate change. and it is considering whether states have the power to enact common sense gun safety protections. as a former mayor, i saw how these problems affect people, everyday people, on everyday streets throughout my city and subsequently the state of california. this is not your first time at this. in fact, it is your fourth time in front of this committee. the full senate has already confirmed you on a bipartisan basis three times to serve as vice chair of the u.s. sentencing commission in 2010, as a federal district court judge 2013, and as a federal
appellate court judge in 2021. and you have done us proud. each of the three times the senate has considered your record, your experience, and your ability. senators on both sides of the aisle have determined you have the qualifications and the temperament it takes to uphold the values of our judicial branch. as i see it those values are knowledge, evenhandedness, impartiality, integrity, respect for the rule of law, and fundamental fairness to all. and your record actually shows that you exemplify these values. the supreme court is not a political institution. rather, the court stands above politics and above partisanship. and we look to federal judges to be independent and unbiased.
judge jackson, in reviewing your record one thing in particular stands out to me and that is your commitment to uphold justice under the law. this is one of the ultimate responsibilities of the supreme court. your record suggests to me that you understand the weight of that responsibility. you have had several mentors early in your career who, i understand, were important in instilling these values in you as a young lawyer. one of these mentors were justice stephen breyer, who you served as a law clerk and whose seat on the supreme court you have now been nominated. what a treat for you to see that happen and i know for him as well. justice breyer has been a
thoughtful and evenhanded judge throughout his career. so you have learned from the best. you have brought those lessons and that dedication to equal justice with you throughout your career in the law. you have strong credentials. you are a graduate of both harvard university and harvard law school. a former supreme court clerk and you have served as a federal judge for nine years, most recently on the u.s. court of appeals for the district circuit. these are impressive credentials and they are also familiar to those of us who have received -- we have reviewed numerous nominees to the court. but you also bring experiences that are less common, especially at the supreme court. the first is your service as a
federal public defender earlier in your career. if you were confirmed, you would be the first ever federal public defender to sit on the court and the first justice since thurgood marshall with significant experience representing low income defendants and criminal cases. i believe this is very significant and important because, as a former public defender, you understand the power of our constitutional rights, including the sixth amendment, right to counsel, and the fifth amendment, right to due process. you also understand the effect of law and the law enforcement system on the most vulnerable. and i believe your eight years of expertise as a trial judge on on the -- on the d.c. district
court is very valuable. so, if confirmed, you would be one of only two former federal district court judges serving on the court. the other being justice sotomayor. i believe your perspective as a former trial judge will serve you well on the court. you have been responsible for implementing the precedent set by higher courts and because of that you understand the need for clarity in legal opinions, for achieving consensus wherever consensus is possible and that has been your record. it is important to have justices with a broad set of views and experiences on the supreme court. and i believe your background and your experience will only serve to strengthen the supreme court. i trust that my colleagues on this committee will recognize that you are unquestionably
qualified for this position. i wish you well. i look forward to learning more about you over the course of the coming days. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator feinstein. senator corman from texas. >> thank you. let me join my colleagues and extending a warm welcome to you and your family. congratulations on your nomination. i enjoyed sitting down with you recently and talking about your experiences both as a lawyer and judge and how that molded your views of our judicial system. in the coming days i hope we can have a candid conversation about your record and your judicial philosophy. as i told you the other day these proceedings will be thorough but civil. as a member of this committee i have had the opportunity to provide advice and consent on seven previous supreme court nominations. this is number eight.
i have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the way the senate conducts these proceedings and so have the american people. one of the best things i think comes from this process is i think this is a teachable moment that will remind all of us of the wisdom of the founders who wrote a constitution that made sure our rights would be fixed and certain. so that these rights, whether they are the right to keep and bear arms or the right to practice one's faith, would be preserved from generation to generation. as you know, the founders established three separate branches of our government, a system of checks and balances, if you will. this was done for the purpose of preserving individual freedom and avoiding tyranny and
ensure that our government was ultimately accountable to the people for whom all political power derives. article three vests the supreme court and inferior courts with judicial power. but the framers were very clear. the courts are not vested with a policymaking authority. according to our constitution, courts hear cases and controversies and decide them, nothing more, nothing less. that is an important distinction to remember in the days that lie ahead. the framers envisioned the courts would have a modest but very important role in our three branches of government. you will recall federalist 78 where alexander hamilton said the courts would have no influence over either the sword or the purse and that it may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but merely judgment.
part of that judgment requires a judge to go where the law commands whether or not you personally approve or not. and it starts with deciding cases as presented and not cherry picking the facts or the law and starting with the decision and then justifying it by cherry picked facts and provisions of the law. the framers provided the president would nominate judges. the framers also set up a framework that allowed judges once confirmed to exercise independent judgment free from elections and politics. these supreme court confirmation hearings are really the only chance we have as representatives of the people to vet somebody who will serve the remainder of their life. unfortunately, there are some driven by their ideology that what the supreme court to do
more than what i described. these are some of the same people who tried to bully justice breyer into early retirement. these activists demand the court make policy and deliver results that they cannot achieve through the deliberation, compromise, and rough-and-tumble of legislative politics. and when the court does not deliver the results they want they attack its institutional integrity and legitimacy. in recent years, these radical views have made their way into the mainstream. on the campaign trail president biden refused to disavow court packing. two years ago the democratic leader of the senate went to the supreme court steps and threatened two supreme court justices by name if they did not rule in a particular way. dark money groups like demand justice have paid millions of dollars to promote court packing
and sow public distrust in the legitimacy of the supreme court. justice breyer as you know recently warned of the crippling effect this politicalization of the court and its decision-making can have. he said, "without the public's trust, the court would no longer be able to act as a check on the other branches of government, and a guarantor of the rule of law threatening the foundations of our constitutional system." judge, i know that you know that the courts are not designed to deliver particular policy outcomes or to invent new rights out of whole cloth. that is why it is imperative we explore your judicial philosophy during this hearing. i will say i was a bit troubled that you have not, so far, provided us with much clarity on that matter. someone as accomplished as you are who spent years engaging and
thinking about our constitution and laws has surely formed a judicial philosophy. this is not your first rodeo. you had an impressive career judge as a supreme court clerk, appellate advocate and trial court judge. i like the fact you have had such broad experience in our judicial and legal system. but there is still unanswered questions that remain. i am a bit troubled by some of the positions you have taken and arguments you have made representing people who have committed terrorist acts against the united states and other dangerous criminals. as someone who has deep respect for the adversarial system of justice, i understand the importance of zealous advocacy. but it appears that sometimes this advocacy has gone beyond the pale and in some instances it appears your advocacy has bled over into your decision-making process as a judge.
you have had some cases reversed, like all judges do, but some of them were particularly high profile when you ruled against a republican administration. i am eager to understand why, in some instances, you found you could not decide a particular issue while in others you joined the republican administration from implementing its policies. i am also interested as others have mentioned in your opinion why pro-abortion dark money groups like demand justice and anti-religious liberty groups are pouring millions of into a dollars public campaign in support of your nomination. judge jackson, these are some of the questions and concerns i have. i assure you, you will have every opportunity to address these concerns as the committee evaluates your ability to fairly and impartially deliver justice should you be confirmed.
so, i welcome your testimony at these hearings. i look forward to our give and take. thank you very much. >> senator whitehouse, rhode island. >> thank you, chairman. welcome, judge jackson. i could not be more delighted to have you here. this is a refreshing moment. we are holding a hearing for an accomplished, experienced, highly qualified nominee who came to us not through a dark money funded turnstile but through a fair and honest selection process. judge jackson has unparalleled breadth of experience both on-and-off the bench. she has already been confirmed by the senate three times. she serves on what is often called the second highest court in the land, the d.c. circuit handles some of the most difficult and consequential cases in the nation. often taking up questions that
later come before the supreme court. judge jackson, that will enable you to jump right in once confirmed. before the d.c. circuit judge jackson was a trial judge in the district court in the district of columbia, ruling on hundreds of cases and presiding over trials, including many jury trials. judge jackson, you have presided over virtually every kind of case a federal trial judge can hear across criminal and civil law. you have more experience actually trying cases in your courtroom than any other member of the court. as a member of the u.s. sentencing commission, you helped establish the policies and practices for federal courts when deciding criminal punishments. with commissioners from both parties you helped implement our bipartisan fair sentencing act,
complicated and consequential work and we thank you. it matters to me, mr. chairman, that judge jackson was also a civil litigator and public defender. she was not groomed in partisan petri dishes. she learned practical courtroom experience in both civil and criminal law. how the judicial system works and how it serves, or does not serve, different litigants. and i must say in rhode island we love that before you clerked for justice stephen breyer you for rhode island or, bruce on the first -- four justice scalia on the first circuit. he was nominated by ronald reagan. he is well-regarded by bench and bar. and he thinks the world of judge jackson.
she is absolutely everything you would want in a supreme court justice, he told the boston globe in february. she has all the tickets in terms of her intelligence, her education, her work experience and her demonstrated judicial temperament. he actually said that waiting for the supreme court selection process to take place made him feel like a father waiting to hear his daughter's college admission's results. we very much appreciate that rhode island touch to this nomination. judge jackson is steadfastly committed to the constitution and rule of law and her record reflects the type of evenhandedness and independence that will make her such a good supreme court justice. her guiding principle, she has said, is to consistently apply
the same level of analytical rigor to a case no matter who or what is involved in the legal action. she says this means you can, quoting again, "be consistent in the way you are analyzing the issues, and you can set aside any thoughts about who was making the arguments and what advantages any side might take away from your opinions. if you have fidelity to the rule of law that is grounded in looking at only at those inputs, she said, then i think you can rule without fear or favor." mr. chairman, judge jackson will be an exemplary justice both because of the qualities that she possesses and because she did not undergo a secret preselection process to get here. she is before us on the basis of her own merit. not on the recommendation of a
secretive right-wing donor operation hiding behind anonymous multimillion dollar donations and aimed at capturing the united states supreme court as if it were some 19th-century railroad commission. the unpleasant fact is that the present court is the court that dark money built. anonymous donations funded the federalist society while it housed the selection turnstile run by the dark money donors. anonymous money funded the dark money group down the same hallway as the federalist society that ran the dark money political campaigns for the selected justices. and because of all that secrecy, americans are denied any real understanding of the overlap of all that dark money with the political dark money funding the republican party, which could well explain the wreckage of senate norms, rules, and procedures that accompanied the confirmation process of recent nominees.
judge jackson's nomination and the process by which she was selected stand in sharp contrast. president biden undertook a thorough and independent review of her record and she will proceed through a thorough and fair process here in the senate. we will abide by the new precedent set by republicans in recent years, but we will not be fabricating new ones. we have already seen dark money groups use dark money to run ads charging that dark money swayed this selection. we are hearing that again today. ironic, when hundreds of millions of dollars in right-wing dark money built the current court majority. and still signals its wishes through flotillas of dark money front groups posing.
i welcome the debate on these points, and i look forward to hearing more from the excellent nominee before us. the judge counted the late justice ruth bader ginsburg an old friend. "i see some of the same qualities in ketanji that i saw in ruth," he said. "humility, the ability to inspire others in a quiet way, not at the top of her voice." "some people," he said, "have the capacity to inspire by example and the force of their reason." judge jackson, i am certain your capacity to inspire through force of reason will be on display here this week. thank you, chairman durbin, for your leadership and thank you, judge jackson, for being with us today. chair durbin: thank you, senator whitehouse. sen. lee: thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciated you and the
conversation you and i had in my office a few days ago. look forward to more of that this week. i enjoyed also meeting your husband and your two lovely daughters. they are wonderful people. i'm grateful to you for your service. your service to the federal judiciary and as a member of the bar. you bring to the court, as i mentioned to you last week, a unique set of experiences. if you are confirmed, you will be someone who has served at all three levels of the federal judiciary, and as a result of that, you will have a perspective that is different than that of most who have served on that court during the modern era. and i appreciate your willingness to be considered and to be here to talk to us about our questions. our questions. i echo what many of my
colleagues have said today in that i am dedicated, as i always have been, to making sure these hearings are respectful,. engaging in the politics of personal destruction is not something we should ever aspire to. it is something that has occurred on this committee in the context of supreme court nominations. i am pleased to say it has never been under republican leadership that such attacks have occurred and i intend to make sure this hearing is no exception to that. there are a few reasons for that. first and foremost the most obvious is respect to human beings requires it. secondly, it is important because we focus on personal attacks. that means we will be betraying our duty under the constitution and to our constituents to make sure we do our jobs fairly and properly. when we are focused on things we have no business doing, like
bringing forward spurious last-minute accusations of a personal nature, we neglect the importance of talking about the jurist prudential role, the philosophy that guides individual jurists, and the document we are sworn to uphold and protect, the constitution of the united states. it is also important for an additional reason, a third reason. it has to do with the fact having been nominated to this position you stand a decent likelihood of ultimately being confirmed to this position in which case you will serve as a member of the supreme court and i think it is important that especially when we disagree with the decision issued by the tribunal, we as a committee, as the senate judiciary committee, not engage in speech or behavior that would undermine the legitimacy of the supreme court of the united states. it is the legitimacy of the
courts that gives them their potency, their power, their significance in our system of government. we all have a duty to make sure we don't undermine that very thing that we purport to be protecting. let me tell you some of the things i look for when reviewing a nominee and a few things i intend to focus on in these hearings with you. one of them will involve any nominee's commitment to judicial self-restraint, to understanding the judicial role, what it is and is not. any judicial nominee these days will acknowledge he or she understands that the role of the judge is to interpret the law based on what it says rather than on the basis of the judge's personal opinion. this is all very true. it raises questions as to how exactly that goes about and what
steps, what tools, what rhetorical linguistic devices the jurist in question might follow in order to do that. i am looking for someone who is ideally going to echo something justice amy coney barrett said in her proceedings. she likened the constitution, this document written by wise men nearly two and a half centuries ago, wisemen who i believe were raised by almighty god to that purpose, to the extent we follow that document to foster the development of the greatest civilization the world has ever known. she likened this and our commitment to it as a little like what odysseus told his crew. the constitution is like how odysseus ties himself to the mast to resist the song of the sirens. she goes on to explain that he
told the crew, do not untie me, no matter how much i beg or plead. do not untie me from the mast. he wanted to avoid the tempting call of the sirens. the tempting call of the sirens is inherent in government. it is understandable and that is why we tie ourselves to it. critical to that is the federal judiciary, the ultimate backstop. the backstop that is there to resolve disputes. the constitution is not just some thing for the courts, it is not something that is owned exclusively and independently by the federal judiciary or supreme court itself. but it plays an important role. the court is there to resolve disputes that arise within the court's jurisdiction as to the meaning of a particular provision of federal law, whether in the constitution itself or as enacted into law by congress. so we need jurists who are
willing to respect that role and demonstrate judicial humility. what i mean by that is an ability to acknowledge that there are a lot of things not within the province of the courts that entail policy. the job of the court of the judiciary is never to exert will or force, it is only judgment, discerning what the law says. a nominee also i believe needs to show a steadfast commitment to the principle of separation of powers. there were a couple of forms of separation of powers required by the constitution along two axes, one the vertical, federalism. it says most of the power of government within the united states, most powers the government might exercise are to be exercised at the state and local level.
power that is federal is the exception, not the norm in our system. the other form of separation of powers operates along the horizontal axis. it recognizes within the federal government, which is limited, our branch makes the laws. another branch headed by the president, the executive branch, enforces and the third branch interprets them, resolving disputes between parties coming before the court's jurisdiction. i think it is important that a jurist within our system of government acknowledge the importance of interpreting the law as it was written, as it was understood by the public at the time of enactment or at the time of ratification. this is part of how we tie ourselves to the mast.
making sure we undertake efforts to make sure we are interpreting it based on how the public understood those words, regardless of the subject and intent. the public meeting at the time it became law. this is how we maintain the rule of law. this is part of how we have given force to this greatest civilization human history has ever recorded. it is through the rule of law and tidying ourselves to that mast -- tidying ourselves to that mast -- tying ourselves to that mast. we have seen efforts to delegitimize the courts and i have second every time i see -- and i am sickened every time i see or hear these. we heard today comments that i think delegitimize the court. another thing that can digital
delegitimize the court's court packing. this was attempted by franklin roosevelt in 1937 and did lasting damage. it did not succeed as a legislative matter. but it is arguable that left a mark and not a pretty one. there is nothing in the constitution that requires us to have nine and only nine justices, that is left to congress' determination. but nine is the number that works. it has worked now 152 years. it is not when we ought to revisit and one that several justices, including your former boss, justice breyer, who i enjoyed getting to know when serving on the supreme court. he, justice ginsburg, and so many others have been against that.
we lose the ability to protect the court if we allow arguments to take root that are focused on expanding that and turning the court into a political body. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator lee. senator klobuchar. >> thank you, senator durbin and drinking number grassley. judge jackson, welcome. we met recently in my office and we have seen you in this committee before and we are so happy to have you back. if senator whitehouse is pleased you once clerked for a rhode island judge, we in minnesota are equally happy you are winning bold purple, winning over minnesota vikings fans the world over. i would like to welcome your husband, patrick, and your two daughters and your other family members and friends. it is clear your family, starting with your parents who i got to meet sitting there in the front row, who once worked as
teachers that your family has been a constant source of inspiration and support for you. my mom taught second grade until she was 70 years old so i know firsthand it is pretty great to have a parent who is also a teacher and they never stop checking your spelling. as a lawyer who also balanced work with parenthood myself i particularly enjoyed your story about sitting with your dad. you had a coloring book and he was studying his logbook. -- law book. while these are an opportunity for americans to get to know your legal acumen, we also learn about your background, your experiences, your values and for so many of us, including people watching this hearing across the country, our values start with our family. there is something else particularly special about this hearing of course. you have been nominated by president biden as the first black woman to serve on the
supreme court. that is historic. with 115 justices having served so far in our history you are the first black woman and it is long past time. in fact, this entire hearing is about opening things up. the hearing room, we opened it with actual guests for the first time in a while and you are opening up the senate and the court by virtue of your very presence. you, judge, or opening a door that is long been shut to many and by virtue of your strong presence, your skills, your experience, you are showing so many little girls and boys across the country that anything and everything is possible. we are here to carry out one of this committee's most solemn constitutional obligations, to advise and consent on president biden's nomination to the supreme court. but this is also a time for us to consider the supreme court's
place in our democracy and how it impacts people. you have been nominated to justice breyer's seat. you clerked for him and i know he has been, and is, a wonderful mentor to you. i would like to start with his words. he once wrote the supreme court must help maintain public acceptance of its own legitimacy. he said, "it can do this best by helping ensure that the constitution remains workable in a broad sense of the term. specifically it can and should interpret the constitution in a way that works for the people of today." those words, his words, are highly relevant to the court. and justice breyer did not just write about those values. in his 27 years on the court he lived them. he approached cases with a pragmatic view of the law and he
understood the reference to the constitution requires not just a respect for the past, although it does that, but also an eye for the future. as we are here to confirm a new justice for his seat i urge my colleagues to remember his words about how the court must consider the effect of its action on people's lives. how it must see the people at the end of the rulings. like americans who are one supreme court decision away from losing their health insurance or one court decision away from the ability to make their own health care choices or the dreamers who could lose the only country they have ever known or the people who waited for hours in the rain one recent election day in wisconsin, wearing garbage bags and homemade masks in the middle of what would soon become a global pandemic. just to exercise their constitutional right to vote. the court decides cases with
life-changing consequences for people. it makes decisions that dictate health and safety standards for workers, protections for seniors, whether we can have clean air and water. the supreme court issues rulings that could determine who could make their voices heard in our democracy and how they can do it. judge jackson, this week i look forward to hearing more on your views of the real-world implications of the law and about how you will respect the constitution and legal precedent while striving to ensure we have a cord that works for the american people. judge, i believe you have exactly the sort of understanding of what the law means in people's lives that americans would want in a justice. you are from a family that knows something about making it work. both of your parents attended segregated primary schools and later became teachers. and when your dad set his sights on becoming a lawyer your mom
figured out how to support the family while he attended law school. after being a star debater in high school you went on to graduate magic allowed a in college and went on to graduate with honors from law school. after loss could you clerked for federal judges nominated by democratic and republican presidents and you had the honor of serving as a clerk to justice breyer. these are not just lines on your resume. they show you have worked to apply the law at every level of the federal system and beyond those credentials you have the perspectives of someone who has seen the law through the eyes of those closest to it. your brother worked as a police officer in baltimore. one of your uncles was a you know what it means for a person to put their life on the line to defend the rule of law. it is no surprise to me that you
received the letter senator durbin widgeon, letter of support from the fred turner -- fraternal order of police. you also understand that for a justice system to be truly workable, it must account for those who lack the resources to defend themselves, and you would be the first justice to bring that experience to the court. i believe that because of your experience and respect for the law, the senate has confirmed you three times with bipartisan support, vice chair and commissioner of the u.s. sentencing commission, judge on the d.c. district court, and most recently the d.c. circuit court of appeals. in each of these rules, you have lived up to that bipartisan support. as a commissioner, over 90% of the votes he participated in were either unanimous or voice votes per you wrote nearly 600 opinions, alliant -- applying the law clearly and impartially without regards to your personal views. i will note that if confirmed, you will join justice sotomayor
as the only other justice on the bench with experience as a trial court judge. as a circuit court judge, you have written decisions joint by judges appointed by presidents from both parties. let's not forget you have nine years of judicial experience, more than four other justice is currently on the court prior to their confirmation. that is worth counting. judge jackson, i expect it to come through loud and clear during the hearings, you have the experience and record of a jurist dedicated to the fair application of the law, committed to consists is, determined to make sure that the court and the constitution work for the people of today. one last point, judge your confirmation hearing comes at a moment in our history when the people of this country are once again seeing this time in ukraine at demarcus he can never be taken for granted. eternal digital is, it has been
said, is the price of liberty. last week i was at the ukrainian-polish border with refugees streaming through checkpoints, leaving everything behind with only a suitcase and a backpack, walking into the loving arms of their neighbors in poland, a country with a long, hard history of having been invaded by nazis and russians impressions. i was told there, at this moment in history, the people of poland are achieving the dreams that their grandparents could never realize, saying to their ukrainian neighbors, we value freedom and respect your democracy, we value you so much that we will take you into our homes and into our hearts, we will open our doors and not shut you out. and this horrendous war against evil and the courage of the ukrainian people is happening at the very same time our country is opening our minds after being separated from a two-your
pandemic from neighbors, not only around the world but in our own countries, in our own talents. this moment stowed upon us a new opportunity to see one another again and be part of our own democracy, to respect each other's rights, to see that we are not a nation of 300 plus million silos. instead, we are a nation that must re-embrace the simple principle that unites us as americans, and that is that our country is so much bigger than what unites us then what divides us pure that is the pivotal moment we are in. that is your moment, time important to our democracy. to the framers, how they envisioned the court, to work as a balance in our system of government and to rededicate ourselves to this sacred protection of our rights and the upholding of our constitution.
as we move forward with these hearings millett as be grounded in the central role -- as we move forward with these hearings, let us be grounded to the central role of what it means in our government that we never take for granted and how we must always be vigilant that it is serving the people. judge jackson, i am confident you will come to the bench as a justice with the bedrock appreciation of what the constitution and the law means to america with a real-world perspective that we need. thank you for your willingness at this important time. >> senator cruz of texas. sen. cruz: thank you. judge jackson, congratulations on your nomination. 11,107 men and women have served as members of the house of representatives. 1994 men and women have served as members of the united states senate. only 115 men and women have suit
-- have served as supreme court justices paired the position with which you have been nominated is extraordinarily important, and that is why the senate is given the responsibility for advice and consent under the constitution. because the job matters immensely. supreme court confirmations were not always controversial. in fact, when bush wrote washington was nominated in 1798, he was confirmed the next day. what changed? well, what changed us starting in the 1960's and 1970's, the supreme court's role in our society changed dramatically. the supreme court became a policy-making body rather than a merely judicial body. just a moment ago, senator klobuchar said we should consider the supreme court's place in our democracy. starting in the 1960's and
1970's, the supreme court decided in our place was to set aside the democratic decisions of the people and instead mandate the policy outcomes they themselves supported. our democratic colleagues want the supreme court to be anti-democratic. our democratic colleagues get frustrated with the democratic process. when they cannot pass gun-control laws because the american people do not support them, they want elected judges to mandate those same laws instead. law after law that they cannot get to the democratic process, the democrats have decided it is much simpler to convince five lawyers in black robes than to try to convince 330 million americans. that is why supreme court confirmation hearings have become so contentious, is because the supreme court is arrogant into itself a responsibility the constitution
does not give it. which is to make contested policy decisions and take them away from the american people. what should this hearing be and what should it not be? you have heard a number of republican members quite clear on what it should not be. this will not be a political circus. this will not be the kind of character smear that sadly our democratic colleagues have gotten very good at. and it is important to note, a couple of years ago i was doing my weekly podcast and was on with a noted liberal intellectual who made a comment something to the effect of, well, both sides do this, both sides smear supreme court justices. and i was forced to laugh out loud and say, look, i understand that is a pretty good talking point, it just happens not to be true. it is only one side of the aisle, the democratic aisle, that went so into the gutter with judge robert bork that they
invented a new verb, to bork someone. it is only one side of the aisle that with justice clarence thomas was so reprehensible that as the president who nominated him road at the time, what is happening to clarence thomas is just plain horrible come all the groups who tried to beat him up on abortion and affirmative action have come out of the woodwork and are trying to destroy a decent man. this is an ugly process and one can see clearly why so many good people are left to stay out of public life. as justice thomas observed in that hearing, what happened there was, to use his words, a high-tech lynching. and i would note the chairman who presided over that disgrace was joe biden. and then most of the members of this committee remember the confirmation hearing of brett
kavanaugh, one of the lowest moments in the history of this committee. where democrats on this committee sat on allegations, did not refer them to the fbi, did not ask for investigations, hid them and then leaked them against the wishes of the complainants. and we began a circus that featured spartacus moments, featured such nuts as michael evan already -- avenatti, who cnn described as a possible presidential democratic candidate, before he became a felon in recent months. judge jackson, i can assure you that your hearing will feature none of that disgraceful behavior. no one is going to inquire into your teenage dating habits. no one is going to ask you, with mock severity, do you like beer?
but that is not to say this hearing should be non-substantive and non-vigorous. in this hearing, this committee has the responsibility to focus on issues, focus on your record, focus on substance, to do our very best to ascertain what kind of justice you would be. and a couple of comments, it is no longer the case that supreme court confirmation hearings are merely about qualifications, there are some who say, well, if the justice is qualified, the senate should confirm. there was a time that was the case. our democratic colleagues abandoned that standard long ago. our democratic colleagues, then senator joe biden, he was perfectly happy to vote against john roberts, someone unquestionably qualified, perfectly happy to vote against alito, someone qualified, and
indeed every member of our democratic colleagues who was here at the time participated in the first ever filibuster of a supreme court justice on partisan lines with just as neil gorsuch. they did so for someone unquestionably qualified, but they had a political agenda and so every one of them happily filibustered justice gorsuch. likewise, it is not about race. we will see democrats in the media suggest that any senator skeptical of your nomination, the questions you vigorously, or dares to vote against you must somehow harbor racial animus. if that were the standard, i would note we are sitting on a committee were multiple members of this committee, senior democrats on the committee, happily mustard just -- filibustered justice brown,
nominated to d.c. circuit judge and they did so precisely because they wanted to prevent judge brown from becoming justice brown, the first african-american woman. joe biden was among the democrats who filibustered the first african-american woman nominated to the deceased. senior democrats on this committee also filibustered miguel estrada. as the staffer senator ted kennedy said in writing at the time, the democrats filibustered miguel estrada "because he is hispanic." they were explicitly racial, if you dare, if you are hispanic or african-american and you dare depart from their political orthodoxy, they will crush you, attack you, slender you, filibuster you. so this is not about race. it is about issues and substance, and have to say that i agree with chairman durbin and
he quoted paul simon when he said, history will judge "did she restrict freedom or did she expand it?" i agree with that paired the reason the american people care about the supreme court is it is integral to protecting or taking away our constitutional rights. and it comes to free speech, this committee should inquire, will you protect the rights of americans' speech, to say unpopular ideas, to say ideas the government does not want you to say but you nonetheless have the right to say? will you protect freedom or restrict? with religious freedom, will adjust as vote to protect your life to live according to your faith and your conscience or will a justice vote to crush religious liberty and strip those rights away? they second amendment, will a justice vote to defend your second amendment right to keep and bear arms and defend your family, defend your children or will a justice rollover to the
democrats that want to disarm citizenry? the right to life, willie justice protect the rights of the people, the right of state legislatures to protect innocent life, protect unborn life, stopping abominations like partial-birth abortion or will a justice do her job as a super legislator, striking down all such rights? school choice, will a justice protect the rights of kids to get a quality education or will a justice legislate from the bench and shut down school choice programs across this country? crimes, we are seeing murder rates, crime rates skyrocketing across the country, in significant part because of politics, attorneys, democratic efforts to abolish the police. and part of the democratic effort to abolish the police is
nominating justice that consistently side with violent criminals, release violent criminals, refuse to enforce the law, and that jeopardizes innocent citizens. so all of those questions are fair game. will you follow the law? what does your record indicate? will you protect the rights of every american citizen regardless of race, party, views? that is what the focus of this hearing should be >> thank you senator. senator kunz from delaware. sen. coons: thank you, senator durbin, ranking number grassley. judge, congratulations on your nomination. it is a joy and blessing to welcome you and your family this morning. as both senators klobuchar and kruz have laid out in great and forcefully took, the decisions of the united states supreme court have daily influence, regular bearing on the lived experience of americans.
that is why hearings for this important role are so contentious. i have been looking forward to this day since president biden announced your nomination in february, and over the next several days, members of this committee will have the privilege of helping introduce you to the american people so that they can gain a sense of confidence that i have of your values, skills, your competence, and the necessity of confirming you to the supreme court. we will be inviting you to speak directly to the american public and share the list of expenses, the strong qualifications, the judicial temperament, and the strength of character that made you not only an historic nominee to the supreme court but an outstanding one, as well. i want to acknowledge up front that president biden selected you to fill the seats on the court being vacated by justice breyer, a justice whom i admire, and the work he has done over decades has shown us a model of
a supreme court justice. in his 42 years on the federal bench, 30 on the supreme court, he has lived up to the highest ideals of american jurisprudence. he has served with wisdom, fairness, and respect for the constitution, the laws of our nation, and its people. he has a keen legal mind and love of the law obvious to anyone who has read his decisions and certainly to someone who clerked to him on the supreme court and had the benefit of his mentorship over many years. you have had broad experience in your stellar legal career that will make you a unique contributor to the supreme court. or as a judge in just about every level of our legal system, engaging in just about every area of federal law. your experiences as a private practice occurred as attorney with large law firms, as a federal public defender, vice chair of the u.s. sentencing commission, and near decade of
service as a federal judge have given you insight into the ways that our constitution, our statutes, sentencing guidelines, and judicial decisions all come together to directly impact individuals my families, and our community. you are able to perceive the full suite of our law without losing sight of the individuals and families impacted by it, caught up in it. and it is critically important that we have justices on the supreme court with this practical and proximate view.you valuable experience, clerking for judges in federal district court, circuit court, and for justice breyer at the supreme court. you develop your career as a legal advocate in private practice and in the federal public defenders service. you took on complex cases involving challenging and unsettled areas of the law. you worked pro bono.
and without regard to political views of your clients or political consequences of the cases. you helped ensure bedrock constitutional guarantees in our legal system held strong, even in times of great stress. the work you did in these rules distinguished you as a talented appellate litigator, as a formidable legal mind. you helped craft policy for the u.s. sentencing -- census -- sentencing commission, establishing guidelines in sentencing you later served as the vice chair on the commission. you partnered with colleagues whose perspectives on the law expand the ideological spectrum, and you enacted meaningful reform to reduce unjust experience and increase fairness in sentencing. i expect to discuss your sentencing commission experience in some details.
while serving on the commission, nearly all decisions were unanimous, and there was careful consideration of highly complex, with all commissioners working hard to achieve on the ground. one notable instance, you ended up going to conservative questioners to oppose an amendment because you thought the law required a different result, and you followed the law. something that often gets lost in our debates and discussions about the supreme court is that many supreme court decisions are unanimous or decided by very broad majorities. these decisions are every bit as critical to the rule of law and functioning and the genesee of the court as the handful that are very contentious and widely discussed publicly. your service on the sentencing commission and your time on the circuit court have prepared you to be a positive force for consensus among the justices in this challenging chapter in
american history. i also think we will have some extended discussions about your record of service on the federal bench. you were confirmed to federal district court for the district of columbia in 2013, britain more than 500 published opinions, confirmed to the d.c. circuit court of appeals last year your it in your near decade as a judge, you have authored opinions in the cases spanning a myriad of complicated issues, from administrative law to civil rights, from criminal environmental matters, labor, employment law, national security, immigration law, and many more. you're rich, complex, and deep decision record gives us the best possible evidence of what kind of justice you will be. and i have concluded you are judas-ish -- judicious and a parsable, great qualities for a justice. in every case, he you consider the argument, facts, the law, and the foundation of the constitution.
you ask about applicable statutes and precedents that apply. ultimately, you have come to a decision based on that methodology, not on any particular policy preferences. this committee has also received some striking outpouring of support for your nomination from a very broad range of sources. i am certain we will be hearing about some of the more enthusiastic statements over the coming days. but in some of the letters i have reviewed personally, i have been struck, letters from lawyers that held appointed positions in republican administrations, letters from prominent law enforcement organizations, federal judges appointed by republican presidents. they have praised your qualifications, your character, your experience, and your
commitment to evenhanded and impartial judging and the rule of law. this is the fourth supreme court nomination process in which i am participating in as a senator. as we begin this week's hearings, i remain hopeful that we can come together as a committee and engage in respectful, good faith bipartisan consideration of your nomination. i look forward to your testimony this week. i am excited so many of my colleagues have had a chance to get to know you a bit, to meet with you, to talk with you one-on-one and get a sense of your character come experiences, and background, and then we will have the opportunity to question you to bring that out. at the end of this week's hearings, i expect that it will be clear to all, that you are impeccable and qualified in the law. i think it will be planed to any american watching, you have a demonstrated record of excellence. you will decide cases as a justice on the basis of the facts and the law, and you will be faithful to the constitution. it is also my hope folks will
get a chance to meet the family that shaped you. it was delightful to have a few moments to get to talk to your parents and brother before we began today and to reflect on how having parents, graduates of hbcu's, public school teachers, who then went on to great careers and accomplishments. johnny brown esquire and dr. hilary brown said a great standard. one of the most memorable sentences before this was only talking to your brother, who said, oh, i'm not surprised to be here at all, this was the sort of thing for which my sister was destined from the very start. destined perhaps, but today you are beginning a process of walking through this door because of courage, humility, determination, and a commitment to excellence. just as another person in american history, ruby bridges, walked through a critical door
julie much more power than our constitution's framers ever anticipated. let's talk about how we got into this mess. we are here in part because of decades and decades of recklessness by all three branches. not just one, by all three. congress, the article one branch, failed to carry out our tasks responsibly and regularly. rather than make tough policy choices, we passed incredibly vague laws and then just pushed the details on down pennsylvania avenue with elected bureaucrats in the article two branch. then whichever party the head of that branch comes from grants more and more power with their pens and phones. then the supreme court tends to overstep the bounds that the
constitution sets on judicial power. the court has ignored restrictions on its authority, inserting itself into policy debates that are supposed to be entrusted exclusively to the two political branches. what do i mean when we say articles one and two are political? it means that the people are in power over articles one and two but not in the long-term over article three. the men and women in article one and article two are supposed to be answering directly to the american people. importantly, the american people
get to hire or fire us every two, four, or six years. but rather than honor the rules given to each branch, activist judges usurped the powers given to articles one and two, which were complicit in this overreach. many years of corroding our constitutional order have contributed to the polarization and viciousness that are poisoning our politics more broadly. we all know that our civic health and life is not healthy, and this was mentioned at the beginning of the hearing, it is at least good that this one got kicked off without a bunch of yocals having to be arrested and carried from the room. when chairman grassley spoke a couple years ago, it took like an hour to get started. that nonsense, the theatrics, happened because of a broader problem. originalists have sought to return to court to its historic role, the supreme court nomination process has been increasingly punctuated with not just those theatrics but also with a lot of personal attacks. this process is supposed to be a careful, thorough investigation of a nominee's record to help the senate make an informed decision on a nominee's fitness for a lifetime appointment. that is why these hearings are supposed to be different. not because people act like jack wagons, but because people before us nominated by the president will potentially serve for a lifetime, so that office as supreme court justice is incredibly important and also carefully circumscribed, precisely because it is a
lifetime responsibility. it has been a long time since this process has worked like that. instead, it is often staging ground for nasty, evidence-free personal attacks. we started down this character assassination road in the 1980's with judge bork's hearings, and senators have been engaged and disgusting theatrics ever since. the most recent supreme court nominee was subjected to repeated accusations that were nothing more than unfiltered religious bigotry against her. the nominee before her was accused of serial rape, aided by members of this committee. if this process were conducted in good faith, miguel estrada and janice rogers brown might well be on the supreme court today, but their opponents lied and bullet rather and accepted principles minority judges. we have gotten so used to this kind of bullying that two years ago, the current senate majority leader stood on the steps of the united states capitol and screamed threats against two justices of the supreme court that they would quote, reap the
whirlwind if they ruled in a way that did not align with chuck schumer's political preferences. that is weird. we should all be able to pause and say that is weird. that kind of behavior should not happen. this process is broken but it is a product of a broader brokenness and the erosion of our constitutional structure. a lot of people are willing to take a strike -- a sledgehammer to the structure, and it is no coincidence that is more of us embrace and ends justify the means philosophy of our job, which are supposed to be jobs of public trust, our politics becomes uglier, more brutal, and more pathological. we have an opportunity today to do something different, and we can demonstrate that the congress can carry out its constitutional duty responsibly without a lot of that past ugliness. judge jackson has served for the last nine months on the prestigious u.s. circuit court of appeals for the d.c. circuit judge are that, you spent eight years on the d.c. district court. she has a long record of public
service and a long roster of colleagues and friends who will testify to her professionalism. the president believes she should have a lifetime seat on the supreme court and it is the job of this body to evaluate that recommendation on its merits. so what should we be looking for? we should start with judicial philosophy. the senate should have a jute -- a good sense of the print suppose that will guide a nominee's decision-making on events. a robust and throughout judicial philosophy can also help us understand how, when faced with difficult or unprecedented decisions, as the court occasionally is -- and i would like to complement senator kunz a minute ago mentioning a huge, huge share of decisions that come out of the supreme court are 9-0. they just tend to not be the ones that make the headlines, but they are incredibly important. and the public trust we need to restore in all three branches of government would be well served by paying more attention to some of those 9-0 decisions. but the ones that tend to be most consensus -- contentious are the occasions where judges
have to figure out what they do in areas which are grey and ambiguous, where the law might not be clear. so it is incredibly important for a judge to tell us how she or he works out those principles in times that are new and confusing. this will make their rulings more durable and sound and it will help rebuild public trust in the court and in the government more generally. unfortunately too many of the court's decisions do not rest on solid constitutional foundations and reliable legal reasoning. justices have too often written policy -- and retrofit bad decision-making to justify the ruling. some of the most divisive cases recently fit that bill. it is for that reason that, while we should all respect the ginsberg rule, the idea that judges sitting before this panel should not weigh in on hypothetical cases that are likely to come before the court, nominees do nonetheless have a duty to be very clear about their judicial philosophy, their
legal views, and their interpretive principles. the american people should not be asked to consent to any nominee who operates on principles that are obscure, confused, or concealed. that means each of us has a job to do in these hearings. it is our job to ask questions that help give the american people a clear view of the nominee. it is judge jackson's job to make her philosophy clear and well understood. at the end of a constructive hearing, and nominee will get a good sense of how she things about the constitutional structure, what it does and does not do, and the key pillars that supported. most fundamentally, our system of checks and balances. throughout this process we should all member that a supreme court justice is not a lawmaker by another name. a supreme court justice forms a crucial but limited function in our political system. namely, to interpret and fairly apply the text of the law as written, and as understood at the time it was adopted. a forthcoming nominee will make clear a commitment to uphold
that purpose, which is the court's true purpose, not the purpose concocted for right by decades of political use, abuse, and overreach. a good nominee will show a commitment to the strict protection of enumerated rights, not the fabrication of unenumerated rights to contorted readings. an excellent nominee will offer a robust judicial philosophy that makes sound decisions more likely and more trusted by the public. chairman, i look forward to hearing from judge jackson this coming week. chair durbin: thank you senator sasse. senator blumenthal of connecticut. sen. blumenthal: thank you. good afternoon, judge. thank you for being here, thank you to your family, and thank you to president biden for his vision and wisdom and courage in nominating you. first, on a personal note, for all of your extraordinary accomplishments and your immense distinction, you have shown two qualities that are rare among powerful accomplished people.
kindness and humor. and you are obviously a good listener, as you are doing a lot of listening here today. as you have seen, we're likely to hear more than a few strawmen today. worn talking points. imagine the grievances. but this hearing should really be about you, not about us. historic is a word often overused in this place, where a lot of history is made. but today seems truly to merit it. certainly it is an inflection point. an inflection pinnacle for our nation. the appointment of a black woman to the united states supreme court would be, very blunt, should have happened years ago. this day is a giant leap into the present for our country and for the court.
employment of a black woman to the court means that your service will make the court look more like america. it will also hopefully make the court think more like america. we will never know in detail all the challenges and obstacles you have overcome. but we know for sure that you will bring an important perspective. in fact, a unique perspective, to a court that deeply needs it. representation matters for the legitimacy and credibility of our judicial system. judges are the face and voice of justice. people walking into your courtroom or any other in this country look to the human being not just to the rope. too often our courts are isolated, seemingly sterile
marble halls lacking emotional intelligence. the fact that you clearly and dramatically understand. what knocked me over in our meeting was the fact that you discussed your job as a judge in terms of the people who are affected by your ruling. the people whose lives are touched by the justice system. whether as victims, criminal defendants. you will be the first public defender on the court. you understand our justice system uniquely through the eyes of people who could not afford a lawyer. they could not afford their own lawyer. and you advocated for them. you also brought extraordinary
intellect and character as well as diverse personal and professional. . your presence will ensure the court more deeply understands the lives and experiences of everyday americans. you grew up as the daughter of two puppets servants, public school teachers -- public servants, public school teachers. you have uncles with impressive law enforcement careers, including one as miami's chief of police. you also have family members who have struggled, as do every american. and you have advocated for defendants who have been convicted of such firms. you're an immensely devoted parent who has achieved eye-popping professional distinction. you have a long career as a judge. you will bring more experience
as a trial judge than any other justice currently on the court. if i addressed the importance of your work, i was a prosecutor and law enforcement for a while. as a prosecutor, i know the system works best when there are good lawyers on both sides. my worst nightmare is a prosecutor was a defendant representing itself. my second worst nightmare was an incompetent counsel. i know effective representation on the others admins more likely error-free.
about those allegations. they are meritless to the point of demagoguery. importantly, your record as a jurist also reveals impartiality. you are a proven unifier and consensus builder, someone who can build bridges among colleagues, even adversaries. not surprisingly, you have been confirmed on a bipartisan basis three times by the senate. you have received glowing endorsements from former judges, who are stalwarts of a
conservative movement. the court needs a bridge builder. it has become more polarized, more divided than at any point in our history, and it faces a crisis of legitimacy as a result. dark money, special interest groups have sought to radically reshape the court. the recent selections of justices was coming to a remarkable degree, outsourced to ideological groups with an express aim of remaking the court to the far right, conservative movement. this court will continue to overthrow well-established precedents, while promising us, members of this committee, that it would respect those precedents, and instead, it threatens to adopt preferred
policy views. i clerked for a justice myself, harry blackmun. i have argued for times before the court. i am deeply concerned that this court is careening toward a precipice that will gravely threaten its role in our history, that it is out of step with america, and that it is losing the trust and respect of the american people that are essential to its authority. trust in the united states supreme court is at a new low. the supreme court has no army, no police force to enforce its
decisions. its authority depends on its credibility and the trust of the american people. my hope is that you will help to restore that trust, that you will re-inspire the confidence of the american people in the court. i traveled, as did my colleague, senator klobuchar, to poland just a week ago, and i saw people fleeing bombs and destruction, people, mostly women and children, who wanted nothing more than the kinds of freedoms that we have in this country. we have an obligation to preserve them, and my hope is that your nomination will help us do so. thank you. i look forward to your testimony. chair durbin: thank you, senator blumenthal. senator grassley just asked me
what the plan is. the plan is to recognize two more senators and then take a 30-minute break for lunch. we have senator hawley of missouri. sen. hawley: thank you very much, mr. chairman. judge, congratulations. congratulations also to your family. i know this is a big moment for them, and rightly so. one of the things i particularly appreciated about our meeting, besides how much time you gave me, was how candid and forthcoming you were, which i really respected. i look forward to a candid conversation. i am admiring how you are sitting so stoically through all of this, all of this senator talk. i am looking forward to visiting with you again. you did me the honor of being very candid. i want to be candid with you
today, so you know exactly what it is i want to talk about, and so you know exactly where my head is that. so let me say a few things that i am concerned about, aspects of your record that troubled me. this will come as no surprise. i have said it in public already, but i want to be, again, very candid in the interest of an open and honest discussion and specific. here are some of the cases from your time on the court, the district court, the federal district court hope we can talk about. let me just run through a few of them, so you know exactly which ones i mean. the united states versus hawkins. this is a child pornography case where the defendant disturbed and multiple images of child point, possessed dozens more, including videos. the sentencing guidelines was 120 months in prison. prosecutors recommended 24 months in prison. judge jackson gave the defendant three months in prison. in the united states versus chiasson, the defendant possessed 48 files of child pornography. the federal guidelines recommended 78 months in prison. the prosecutor recommended the same. judge jackson sentenced him to 28 months. united states versus cooper. there the defendant distributed
dozens of images of child pornography, the federal guidelines were recommended 151 to 188 months in prison. the prosecutor recommended 72 months. judge jackson gave the defendant 60 months, which is the lowest sentence permitted by the law. united states versus down, a case where the defendant distributed 33 files of child sexual assault, three messaging outcome unfortunately more common. the federal guidelines recommended 70 to 80 months in prison. the prosecutor recommended 70 months in prison. judge jackson permitted him to only 60 months. the united states versus stewart, the defendant distributed scores of images and children suffering sexual abuse. the guidelines recommended 97 to 121 months in prison. the prosecutor recommended 97 months in prison. judge jackson gave him 57
months. in the united states versus sears, the defendant distributed over 100 videos of child pornography. the guidelines recommended 97 to 121 months in prison. the prosecution recommended 79 months. judge jackson gave 71 months. in united states versus savage, the defendant possessed six separate thumb drives of child pornography and traveled across state lines. the guidelines recommended 58 months in prison, the prosecutor recommended 39 months, and judge jackson sentenced to 37 months. all of judge jackson's cases dealing with child pornography up during her time on the district courts in which he had some discretion. there are some cases she was bound to give.
what concerns me, and i have been candid about this, in every case of any to be seven, judge jackson handed down a lenient senate which was below with the federal guidelines recommended and below what prosecutors requested. i think there is a lot to talk about there, and i look forward to talking about it. i will note that some of said that the federal sentencing guidelines are too harsh on child sex crimes, especially child pornography. i have heard that argument a lot in recent days. the chairman quoted someone earlier today that point of view. i cannot say i agree with that. the amount of child pornography in circulation has absolutely exploded in recent years. here is a "new york times" report, i am quoting now, last year, tech companies reported 145 million photos and videos of children being sexually abused, more than double what they found
the previous year. the report goes on to say this, 20 years ago, these online images were a problem. 10 years ago, they were an epidemic. now the crisis is at a breaking point. unfortunately, it is worse than that. . just last week, the national center for missing and exploited children reported finding 85 million files of child pornography in 2021. of course, this committee has heard testimony from prosecutors and others who are grappling with the problem of how to get at this porn, and those who distribute it, how to prosecute them and hold them accountable. here is my point did i think it is difficult against this backdrop to argue that the sentencing guidelines are too harsh or outmoded or that we should be somehow treating child pornographers more leniently
than the guidelines recommend. judge jackson has not had a chance yet to respond to this, and others have heard arguments, i don't agree with them, but i think it is important to hear from judge jackson, and we will have the chance to in the coming days. the candor that judge jackson showed previously, i look forward to, and she deserves the ability to speak for herself on this issue. so i would say, in closing, mr. chairman, some have asked i'd i have raised these questions ahead of the hearing, why not wait until the hearing, spring them on judge jackson, as it were, and my answer to that is very simple -- i am not interested in trapping judge jackson. i'm not interested in trying to play gotcha, i am interested in her answers, because i found in our time together that she was enormous like awful, enormously accomplished, and i suspect has a coherent view in a way of thinking about this that i look
forward to hearing. i think she deserves a chance to talk about it. i think the american people deserve the chance to hear her answers. there are my concerns, judge. i would like to talk about those, so you know exactly where i am coming from. thanks again for giving me the time a few weeks ago. congratulations again. i look forward to finally hearing from you tomorrow. thank you, mr. chairman. chair durbin: thank you, senator hawley. certainly the judge deserves to be heard on that type of a charge. senator hirono? sen. hirono: thank you, mr. chairman. judge jackson, aloha. i know there are people here to support you. aloha to all of you. congratulations, judge jackson, to all that you have accomplished throughout your life and career. i know a lot of your backgrounds and experiences have been cited, but some things are worth repeating, so i am going to repeat them.
you are the national champion of speech and debate as a highschooler. you have undergraduate and law degrees from harvard, each with honors, three clerkships of federal court, including one for justice breyer, who you have been nominated to replace. in washington dc to to public school teachers. you moved to miami, florida at a young age. that way your deck to go to law school. you are inspired to pursue a career in law by watching your dad study his law classes at the
kitchen table. you considered attending harvard, i thought that had not previously entered your mind after attending a speech on the harvard campus. you have been confirmed three times by the senate. all on a bipartisan basis. you are the second-generation and your family to go to college and worked extremely hard to get where you are today. you are a wife and mother of two children. clearly your wife and career have more than prepared you to serve on our nation's highest court. that is why there is broad consensus across the global spectrum that you are eminently
qualified and is a former court circuit judge, you are as highly experienced in the law as any nominee in history. in history, the attorney general said judge jackson is a highly qualified legal mind. and will serve our nation well is the first black woman to serve on the u.s. supreme court. a group of law enforcement officers said judge jackson brings a depth of character, public service and judicial service that leads to one conclusion. she is eminently qualified to serve on the supreme court of
the united states. you have issued nearly 600 opinions that demonstrate a clear, evenhanded approach to the law. you have served for and against the government. thomas griffith, a george w. bush appointee summed it up best when he said you will adjudicate based on the facts and the law and not as a partisan. having reviewed your record, i strongly agree with this statement. but you are not just extremely qualified to serve in the supreme court, your nomination is historic. the supreme court has existed for over 233 years. 150 injustices in the history of the supreme court. only five of them have been
women. only two of them have been black. not a single one has been black women. this is a court that has decided cases that have had sweeping effects on everyday life as a number of my colleagues have pointed out. including decisions that solidified rights for the lgbtq community. this is also the same court that upheld slavery, jim crow laws and japanese-americans. the individual making decisions that have altered the course of this country have almost exclusively been white men. it is pretty remarkable when you consider the power that this court has and the historical lack of diversity of the people
who exercise that power. instead of celebrating the long overdue diversity, my colleagues and figures have attempted to undermine qualifications through the pejorative use of affirmative action. they may have implied that you are solely nominated due to your race and not for other factors. some have even claimed that you need to show your l source -- lsat scores. this is incredibly offensive and condescending. the nomination is not about filling a quota. it is about time. it is about time that we have a highly qualified, highly accomplished black women on the supreme court. it is about time our high score better reflect the country it serves.
it is about time that black women and girls across the country can finally see themselves look like them sitting on the highest court. making decisions that will impact their lives. they will know it is possible for them to do the same. one cannot overstate the importance of representation. your experience and background as a trial judge and so much more provide you with a uniquely different perspective then any of the eight other justices on the court. i know you will engage with the other justices both liberal and conservative. you are a consensus builder, to share their perspective, challenge their view and shape the court positive action for the better.
with the professional and personal diversity you bring, you have the decisions the court makes which will be better as a result. before i end, i want to mention that i was so glad to hear this referenced during your introductory press conference. she helped the argument. that finally put an end to separate but equal. she was the first black woman to argue before the supreme court. ultimately arguing 10 cases before the court and winning nine, including the case that allowed james meredith -- she became the first black woman appointed as a federal judge.
in a world free of discrimination, she may be the first black woman to -- and that you stand on judge motley's shoulders. i have no doubt there will be a generation of young girls that will stand on yours. i have no doubt that you will respond to some of the allegations that have been lodged against you. i congratulate you. and your family. i look forward to hearing from you this week. momala and aloha. >> we will go to break and return at 2:05. when you hear this we are back in business.