Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) used her opening statement in the confirmation hearing of Ketanji Brown Jackson to inquire about a potential “hidden agenda” the judge may have regarding critical race theory in the American legal system.
Monday marked the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing to determine whether or not President Joe Biden’s nominee, Judge Jackson, should be confirmed to an appointment on the Supreme Court. Time permitted the nominee and each of the committee members to offer an opening statement on the proceeding hinting at questions that will be asked throughout the week.
Blackburn took time in her early remarks to highlight an opinion Jackson had expressed stating, “You once wrote that every judge has, and I quote, ‘personal, hidden agendas,’ end quote, that influence how they decide cases.”
“So, I can only wonder,” Blackburn went on, “what’s your hidden agenda?”
The senator continued in her statement alluding to Jackson’s record asking, “Is it to let violent criminals, cop killers and child predators back to the streets? Is it to restrict parental rights and expand government’s reach into our schools and our private family decisions? Is it to support the radical left’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court?”
Then, the statement honed in on viewpoints held by Jackson, “You have praised the 1619 Project, which argues the U.S. is a fundamentally racist country. And you have made clear that you believe judges must consider critical race theory when deciding how to sentence criminal defendants. Is it your personal hidden agenda to incorporate critical race theory into our legal system?”
“These,” Blackburn asserted, “are answers that the American people need to know.”
Jackson had publicly praised the revisionist history of the 1619 Project and its author Nikole Hannah-Jones, who she referred to as an “acclaimed investigative journalist” in a January 2020 lecture titled, “Black Women Leaders In The Civil Rights Movement Era And Beyond.”
The senator concluded by reminding that past statements like these would be considered with potential clarification from Jackson before a final decision by the committee was made, and further congratulated the judge on her nomination.
Blackburn spoke later on Fox Business where she pointed out that Jackson has an extensive background with experience as a public defender, a judge in multiple court systems and as a member of the sentencing commission.
Tennesseans do not want activist judges.
They want judges who will follow the rule of law and the Constitution as written. pic.twitter.com/tomGlZypnm
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) March 21, 2022
However, Jackson’s likability and “impressive résumé” are not enough to provide clarity on her judicial philosophy. This is why Blackburn asked, “Does she first go to the Constitution? Does she go to the rule of law?” in signaling her question throughout the hearing will be to learn whether Jackson decides cases on their merits and by the rule of law.
In other opening statements on the first day of the hearing Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono (HI), Cory Booker (NJ) and Dick Durbin (IL) along with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) remarked on the historic nature of the nomination of a black woman to the court.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) assured that the vitriol that came from the left during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing would not be repeated by Republicans. Instead, he relayed the importance of “substantive” and “vigorous” questioning.
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