Republicans claim they will give Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson a fair, “respectful” hearing. Politico quoted Chuck Grassley: “The best message I can give you at this point, but I think you’ve heard me say it before: It’s going to be a fair, thorough hearing, and we’re not going to get in the gutter like the Democrats did.” Yeah, right. That must be why they are questioning her “choice” of clients when she was a public defender. According to the Hill, Republicans are “raising red flags” on Judge Jackson’s work.
What a surprise that Josh Hawley mentioned the issue. He claims he brought it up during his meeting with the judge and that it would “likely come up again” during her confirmation hearings. Hawley went on to say that he found Judge Jackson’s representation of Guantanamo Bay detainees “concerning.” Josh Hawley was a lawyer before he unfortunately darkened the doorways of Congress. He knows how this works, even if he was never a public defender. Public defenders don’t get to choose their clients; they are chosen for them. Once those clients are chosen, those lawyers do their best to vigorously represent their clients.
Similarly, John Cornyn (R-TX) said that the issue of representing Guantanamo Bay detainees “will be something we’ll want to ask her about,” and the RNC has put in its two cents worth, claiming that Judge Jackson “continued to advocate for Guantanamo terrorists” after leaving the public defender’s office for private practice. Funny, the attorneys representing the January 6 insurrectionists aren’t taking this kind of flack for representing terrorists because that is exactly what they are. It is amazing how similar issues can be seen so differently through varying eyes. Some might say that Judge Jackson brought this upon herself by listing the case Khi Ali Gul v. Bush as one of her 10 most significant cases. Jackson also worked on amicus briefs for other detainees, but Republicans are missing the point. Judge Jackson was appointed to the Sentencing Commission by President Barack Obama. Obviously, then, she was concerned with not only sentences but the facilities themselves, which is what her work centered around. Why are Republicans trying to make a big deal out of it? Because they got nothing else.
Republicans, of course, claim they are more interested in Judge Jackson’s “thinking.” Thom Tillis (R-NC) claims that they want to put together the judge’s record and look for “patterns.” Republicans are good at identifying patterns, since that’s why they confirmed most of Trump’s borderline competent judges. Detainees are people too, and they have rights. Good attorneys know that they can do their jobs and defend them without compromising their own beliefs. Because Republicans for the most part have no morals or ethics, they don’t understand how this works.
In the end, Republicans cannot stop Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson from getting on the Supreme Court unless and until a Democratic senator refuses to confirm her. That is not likely to happen, and Republicans had better start getting used to the idea of a Black woman on the Supreme Court.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years