Douglas Andrews / March 21, 2022

KBJ: Bad on Race, Soft on Child Porn

Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, has a track record that Senate Republicans had better vigorously explore.

We feel bad for Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson. Not only is she what’s derogatorily referred to as a quota hire, but she’s soon to get the Brett Kavanaugh treatment — the malicious destruction of her character by a bunch of senators who take their marching orders from the fringe elements of the opposition party.

Of course, we’re sincere about the former and totally kidding about the latter. No one in their right mind believes that Senate Republicans will disgrace themselves and their offices by resorting to the contemptible win-at-all-costs indecency of the Democrats during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Not even close.

This morning marks the kickoff of the hearings for Jackson, whom Biden picked from among a group of candidates according to their sex and their skin color. (If you’re a talented jurist and you’re not a black female, you had not a snowball’s chance in hell of being nominated.) Such is the shame of a nominating process that was shot through with racial and sexual tribalism. As our Thomas Gallatin wrote about Jackson last month: “The 51-year-old Harvard Law graduate was first nominated to serve on a federal district court by Barack Obama in 2013 and was confirmed shortly thereafter. Prior to serving as a district judge, a position she held until Biden nominated her to replace Merrick Garland on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Brown was a federal public defender from 2007 to 2010. During that time she represented several terrorists interned at Guantanamo Bay. Her advocacy for her terrorist clients was described as ‘zealous,’ and she continued to represent some of the Gitmo terrorists after leaving public defense for private practice.”

As for her fairness and competence, Jackson’s high-profile rulings as a district judge were regularly reversed by the DC Circuit, including by its left-wing judges.

So Jackson is a hard-leftist, and she seems more ideologically than jurisprudentially driven. When it comes to race, for example, she’s spoken to black law student groups about such obstacles as “microaggressions.” And although she hasn’t endorsed the doctrine of critical race theory, she’s indicated that it informs her legal analysis. She also once called a conservative columnist “irredeemably evil.” Clearly, the High Court’s color-blindness won’t be enhanced by her presence on it.

But more troubling than this, Ketanji Brown Jackson seems to have a soft spot for those who traffic in child pornography. “Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker,” tweeted Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley on Wednesday. “She’s been advocating for it since law school. This goes beyond ‘soft on crime.’ I’m concerned that this [is] a record that endangers our children.”

Hawley, his state’s former attorney general, knows a thing or two about Rule of Law. And he’s done some digging into this area of Jackson’s legal work. As he posted on social media: “Judge Jackson has said that some people who possess child porn ‘are in this for either the collection, or the people who are loners and find status in their participation in the community.’ What community would that be? The community of child exploiters?”

“On the federal bench,” Hawley continued, “Judge Jackson put her troubling views into action. In every single child porn case for which we can find records, Judge Jackson deviated from the federal sentencing guidelines in favor of child porn offenders.”

Once may be an anomaly, two or more times a pattern, but sympathetic rulings in every single child porn case? That’s cause for concern and for further exploration by Hawley and his Republican colleagues.

The Constitution says that the Senate shall provide “advice and consent” to the president on his Supreme Court nominations. Failing to do so in this regard would be an abdication. But more than that, it would be an example of “black privilege” — an allowance we’re certain Judge Jackson neither wants nor deserves.


UPDATE: National Review’s Andy McCarthy, who believes Senator Hawley’s charges to be somewhat over the top, opposes Ketanji Brown Jackson for a different reason: his belief that the most important qualification for a judicial appointment “is commitment to applying the law consistent with what it was understood to mean when adopted” — a qualification he believes Jackson doesn’t meet.

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