WATCH highlights: Supreme court nominee from Miami-Dade faces grueling questions

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing adjourns shortly after 10 p.m.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who grew up in Miami-Dade County, is answering senator's questions during her second hearing on Tuesday in Capitol Hill.

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who grew up in Miami-Dade County, tackled grueling questions during the second of four days of hearings on Tuesday in Capitol Hill. The Senate Judiciary Committee has 11 Republican senators and 11 Democratic senators. Each of them had 30 minutes to interview her.

The Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Harvard-educated federal appeals court judge — who graduated from Miami Palmetto Senior High School — to talk about sentencing guidelines for child pornography offenders. The mother of two daughters, 17-year-old Talia and 21-year-old Leila, defended herself against accusations that she was too lenient.

“Nothing could be further from the truth ... These are some of the most difficult cases a judge has to deal with,” Jackson said.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, right, testifies about how her parents attended segregated schools, as her family from far left, brother Ketajh Brown, and parents Johnny and Ellery Brown, listen, during the second day of her confirmation hearing, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Jackson answered questions for about 12 hours. Senators Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn and other Republicans criticized Jackson’s role as a former federal public defender who represented Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

“Federal public defenders do not get to pick their clients,” Jackson said.

Senators Marsha Blackburn and Ted Cruz accused her of supporting critical race theory.

“I’ve never studied critical race theory. It doesn’t come up in the work that I do as a judge,” Jackson said.

Senators also asked her to discuss same-sex marriage, judicial activism, and other controversial issues such as abortion.

“Roe and Casey are the settled law of the Supreme Court concerning the right to terminate a woman’s pregnancy. They have established a framework that the court has reaffirmed,” Jackson said about abortion, later saying on the subject, “I have a religious view that I set aside when I am ruling on cases.”

The senators also asked her to describe her experience as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“I am trying, in every case, to stay in my lane,” Jackson said about her judicial philosophy. She later added, “Judges should not be speaking to political issues” and “A judge is not playing a numbers game; a judge is looking at all of these different factors.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley asked her to explain a speech she made years ago that cited. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The fact that you can come that far was, to me, a testament to the hope and the promise of this country, the greatness of America,” Jackson said.

Jackson counts on the support of Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, Vice President Kamala Harris, and President Joe Biden. With Harris’s support, Democrats have the votes to confirm her. Jackson stands to make history as the first Black woman to serve as Supreme Court justice and the third Black justice after Clarence Thomas and Thurgood Marshall.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS

Abortion

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who grew up in Miami-Dade County, is answering senator's questions during her second hearing on Tuesday in Capitol Hill.

Same-sex marriage

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who grew up in Miami-Dade County, is answering senator's questions during her second hearing on Tuesday in Capitol Hill.

Parents’ experience in Miami

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who grew up in Miami-Dade County, is answering senator's questions during her second hearing on Tuesday in Capitol Hill.

Child sex abuse sentencing

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who grew up in Miami-Dade County, is answering senator's questions during her second hearing on Tuesday in Capitol Hill.

Judicial philosophy

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who grew up in Miami-Dade County, is answering senator's questions during her second hearing on Tuesday in Capitol Hill.

Guantanamo Bay prisoners

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who grew up in Miami-Dade County, is answering senator's questions during her second hearing on Tuesday in Capitol Hill.
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who grew up in Miami-Dade County, is answering senator's questions during her second hearing on Tuesday in Capitol Hill.

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About the Authors:

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News. He has more than a decade of reporting experience nationwide.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.