Jackson Takes Questions on Race, Crime and Biology in Day 3 of Senate Hearings

Headline Roundup March 24th, 2022

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson continued to face tough questions from Republicans on Day 3 of her Senate confirmation hearings.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) and other Republicans continued to press Jackson on her rulings in child pornography cases, while some alleging that her sentences were much shorter than what prosecutors sought. Jackson said her goal was to "assign proportional punishment" when defendants may have "differing levels of culpability." When asked by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to define what a woman is, Jackson replied, "No, I can’t. I'm not a biologist." In response to a question about why government institutions should "reflect the diversity of our nation's citizenry," Jackson said such diversity "lends and bolsters public confidence in our system."

Coverage from left-rated sources continues to frame Jackson as qualified and worthy of praise, and her nomination as historic. Many on the left attribute criticisms and tough questioning of Jackson to hyperpolarized politics, racism and sexism. The right continues to paint Jackson as overly progressive and soft on crime. Coverage from right-rated outlets often highlighted her response to Blackburn's question, and criticized her for purportedly posturing to progressives by ignoring biological reality. Some on the right juxtaposed her declining to define what a woman is with the political left's focus on celebrating her gender, framing that apparent disconnect as an example of political hypocrisy and failed identity politics.

From the Center

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Wednesday emphasized a diverse American judicial branch in order to "bolster public confidence in our system."

Why it matters: If confirmed, Jackson would become the first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice.

Jackson has been open about her belief that she stands "on the shoulders of so many who have come before me," and has also acknowledged countless times the historic nature of her nomination.

Jackson said on Tuesday that she believes public confidence in the court is "crucial," adding that it is "the...

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From the Left

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation hearings may have been historic, in that she is the first Black woman nominated for the Supreme Court. 

But they have not been without precedent, at least with regard to questions on crime and race that she faced from some Republican senators, such as Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who have tried to portray her as "soft on crime." 

Civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill, who is president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, tweeted Tuesday that listening to Cotton question Jackson reminded her of Arkansas Sen....

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From the Right

President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee on March 22 refused to define what a woman is or say whether she agreed that punishments for possessing or distributing child pornography should be strengthened.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was asked during day 2 of her confirmation hearings whether she could provide a definition of the word “woman.”

“No, I can’t,” Jackson said.

“I’m not a biologist,” she added.

Jackson sits on the board of Georgetown Day School, where students as young as 5 are taught they can choose to be a different gender, Sen....

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