Grassley asks for Kentanji Brown Jackson’s records as GOP alleges leniency toward child porn convicts

Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson begin next week, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, would like to see her records from her time on the U.S. Sentencing Commission after some Republicans have claimed she has a history of being overly lenient to convicted child pornographers.

“Judge Jackson’s history of sentencing below guidelines, particularly in cases involving child exploitation, raises legitimate questions about her views on penalties for these crimes,” Grassley said in a Saturday statement.

“This is exactly why I asked for her Sentencing Commission records — the same types of records the committee traditionally reviews when vetting a Supreme Court nominee,” he said.

“Unfortunately,” he continued, “somebody somewhere doesn’t want us to see that information. How can this be a thorough review if this information is withheld? And why aren’t Democrats interested in allowing the committee to have this information to conduct a thorough review?”

Grassley’s comments come after a lengthy March 16 Twitter thread from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), in which Hawley stated, “I’ve noticed an alarming pattern when it comes to Judge Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders, especially those preying on children.”

“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,” Hawley continued. “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 goes on to examine Judge Jackson’s reticence to require that convicted sex criminals register as sex offenders, claiming the policy leads to “stigmatization and ostracism.”

“It gets worse,” Hawley tweeted. “As a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Judge Jackson advocated for drastic change in how the law treats sex offenders by eliminating the existing mandatory minimum sentences for child porn.”

Hawley’s thread cites several convictions for which Judge Jackson’s sentencing were significantly lower than the Sentencing Guidelines, including one for which the Guidelines called for a ten-year prison sentence and Jackson sentenced the offender to just three months.

Media fact checkers and the White House jumped all over the thread, according to Fox News.

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called Hawley’s claims “a last-ditch, eve-of-hearing desperation attack on her record on sentencing in sexual offense cases.”

And in a Saturday statement to Fox News Digital, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates noted that Sentencing Commission recommendations were from a bipartisan panel which included Dabney Friedrich, a Trump-era pick.

“Josh Hawley’s desperate conspiracy theory has been conclusively debunked by multiple fact checks in the press, including the Washington Post, the AP and CNN,” Bates stated. “What’s more, Senator Grassley — in addition to every other Senate Republican — voted to confirm one of the Republican signers of the same unanimous, bipartisan sentencing commission report when Donald Trump nominated her in 2017.”

To the pushback, Hawley replied:

Senate Judiciary Republican have analyzed Jackson’s records, Fox News Digital reports.

“In a sign of how both sides were casting Jackson’s records, the Republican analysis found that in the 14 sex crime cases reviewed (including nine involving child pornography), in ten of those cases she sentenced at levels below the recommendation of government prosecutors — while the White House instead noted that in nine of the same cases she imposed sentences at either the same or above the level recommended by the U.S. Probation’s Office,” Fox writes.

Controversies aside, Sen. Grassley vows the GOP will be “polite” to Biden’s nominees a promises to vet her “properly.”

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