While many are oozing praise for the Supreme Court nominee Judge Katanji Brown Jackson, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had some harsh words for the judge because of her continually evading questions about her record and judicial philosophy. McConnell wasn’t alone; he was joined in this criticism by other GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell gave remarks from the Senate floor in which he said that Jackson’s responses were evasive and unclear. He also criticized the nominee for not addressing “critically important” questions that are of significant concern to the Republicans.
One of the key areas of concern for McConnell was the judge’s refusal to answer questions from senators on the committee who were asking about her stance on court-packing. This is adding more members to the High Court in hopes of diluting the present conservative majority.
Senator McConnell said, “The far-left fringe groups that promoted Judge Jackson for this vacancy want Democrats to destroy the Court’s legitimacy through partisan court-packing or unconstitutional term limits. She was literally the court-packers’ pick for this seat. And she has repeatedly refused to reject their position.”
The Kentucky senator made it clear that both Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were very willing to denounce the idea of adding justices to the present number that sit on the court. Jackson, if nominated, would take Breyer’s seat after he steps down.
McConnell explained that Judge Jackson has refused to continue on the same path as Breyer and Ginsburg and he said that she just won’t rule out the plan of radical left activists.
“Where Justices Ginsburg and Breyer slammed the door shut, Judge Jackson leaves it open. She told Senator Kennedy that she does have an opinion on court-packing, but it’s ‘not a strongly held opinion,’ and in any event, she wouldn’t tell Senators what it is,” McConnell said.
The Senate Minority Leader was not pleased with Jackson’s lack of candor during the committee’s questioning of her judicial philosophy. He said that when she was asked about this, she “tried to punt” by just restating what most already know about a judge’s basic job description.
Jackson’s philosophy revolved around looking at the facts of cases and treating clients fairly. McConnell said that she did not explain a judicial philosophy, she just simply reworded a judicial oath. He called her to answer a “non-answer,” and said the question was a pivotal one that needed a clear answer.
Senator McConnell focused on one exchange where Judge Jackson said that she did not deal with interpreting the Constitution as a lower court judge. He used a quote from her response that said in her nine-plus years, the issue of constitutional interpretation didn’t come up very often.
McConnell drove home the thought that Jackson had admitted that her experience in the lower court had not prepared her for an “in-depth discussion of constitutional interpretation.”
McConnell also addressed the issue that several of the GOP leaders were concerned about, Jackson’s lenient sentence history with those convicted on child pornography charges. He talked about the number of instances where Jackson gave out sentences far below the sentencing guidelines and far below what the prosecutors were asking for. The seniors said that Jackson went out of her way to “essentially remake sentencing policy from the bench.”
When Jackson was grilled by senators like Tom Cotton, she either refused to give her opinion on sentencing guidelines, or she talked about the wide latitude judges have in sentencing.
McConnell ends his remarks by saying that the rest of the hearing will give Jackson an opportunity to really answer the questions she has failed to answer thus far. He said, “The Senate and the country will be watching.”