In response to Justice Breyer’s announcement of his retirement at the end of this session, President Biden announced on Friday that he is nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the union’s highest court. Presidential nominations to the Supreme Court must be confirmed by a majority vote in the US Senate. Currently, the Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, and VP Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote.
While many Democrat bills receive the support of dozens of Republicans, nominations to the SCOTUS generally receive votes based on party lines due to the strict partisanship that developed over the past few years. Some speculated that Biden would nominate a moderate to the court in order to win over a few Republican Senators. Today, he nominated a progressive to fill Breyer’s seat. As Biden promised during his campaign in 2020, his nominee is a black woman. As long as all 50 Democrat Senators vote to confirm, Harris could be the tie-breaker.
While serving as the vice-chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Jackson also wrote some disturbing things about her sympathy and perhaps even admiration of child predators, including that she: “mistakingly assumed that child pornography offenders are pedophiles” and that she desired “to understand this category of nonpedophiles who obtain child pornography”, as reported by The Daily Signal.
In 2012, President Obama nominated Jackson to become a DC district judge. Last year, Biden nominated her for the appeals court. Jackson is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. On the White House announcement page, Biden says that “Judge Jackson served as Justice Breyer’s law clerk, and learned up close how important it is for a Supreme Court Justice to build consensus and speak to a mainstream understanding of the Constitution.” It is interesting that Biden says Jackson believes the court should rule on cases based on the ‘mainstream’ understanding of the Constitution, and not based on what the text of the constitution says.
The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony list pointed out that in 2001, Jackson co-authored an amicus brief in McGuire v. Reilly supporting a Massachusetts law that created a floating “buffer zone” essentially prohibiting free speech by preventing pro-life sidewalk counselors from approaching to speak with women near abortion facilities, as rerpoted by CNSnews.com.
In 2019, Jackson blocked the Trump administration’s plan to expand fast-track deportations of people in the country illegally, no matter where they are arrested, as reported by TulsaWorld.com. While she has ruled on very few cases, she is believed to be a hardcord progressive. She likely supports authoritarian government in many aspects, though she does have some strong opposition to harsh federal prison sentences for victimless crimes. When she was in college, her uncle was sentenced to life in prison for a nonviolent cocaine conviction. Years later, Jackson persuaded a law firm to take his case pro bono, and President Obama eventually commuted his sentence. From 2005 to 2007, Jackson was an assistant federal public defender in Washington, D.C., where she handled cases before U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. A Washington Post review of cases Jackson handled during her time as a public defender showed that “she won uncommon victories against the government that shortened or erased lengthy prison terms”. On July 23, 2009, Barack Obama nominated Jackson to become vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission. The U.S. Senate confirmed Jackson by unanimous consent on February 11, 2010. She succeeded Michael E. Horowitz, who had served from 2003 until 2009. Jackson served on the Sentencing Commission until 2014. During her time on the Commission, it retroactively amended the Sentencing Guidelines to reduce the guideline range for crack cocaine offenses and enacted the “drugs minus two” amendment, which implemented a two offense-level reduction for drug crimes.
Her pedigree includes six generations of Harvard students, police chiefs, and powerful school officials. Jackson’s husband is the twin brother of Paul Ryan’s (former US Speaker of the House and VP Nominee) brother-in-law.
Lindsey Graham, a moderate Republican senator, tweeted: “If media reports are accurate, and Judge Jackson has been chosen as the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Breyer, it means the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again. The attacks by the Left on Judge Childs from South Carolina apparently worked.”
Kelly Shackelford, the president and chief counsel for First Liberty Institute, said that “Her record from the beginning of her career shows hostility to religious liberty, free speech, and other constitutional rights. The American people do not want a liberal extremist on the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Judge Jackson’s judicial activism will place the constitutional rights of all Americans in jeopardy.”
Ironically, this new affirmative-action picked judge may find that the first case she hears as a SCOTUS judge is on the doctrine of affirmative action, the idea that black people should be treated better than white people due to their skin color.
At only 51 years of age, Jackson could remain on the court for decades to come. Her confirmation to the SCOTUS would give pro-freedom individuals one more reason to support a peaceful separation from DC and the union if they wish to preserve freedom.