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Arkansas senator grills Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson over her record on crime

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) questioned the judge about her handling of a specific drug crime case.
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 9:32 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Tuesday, Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had their chance to question Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on her understanding of the Constitution. This, following opening statements Monday.

The Biden administration is emphasizing Judge Jackson’s “outstanding qualifications” and deep understanding of the law.

Sen. Tom Cotton, (R-Ark.) questioned Judge Jackson on her handling of a specific drug crime case.

Cotton said to Judge Jackson, “You twisted the law and you rewrote it so you could cut the sentence of a drug kingpin. That’s what you did, Judge.”

Judge Jackson replied, “Respectfully, Senator, I disagree. Congress provided judges through the compassionate release motion mechanism with the opportunity to review sentences.”

Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.  A graduate of Harvard, she was a federal public defender before being named to the federal bench in 2012. She’s currently on the Appeals Court of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, which is often the last stop for cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Jackson is set to replace Justice Stephen Breyer who is retiring. At 51-years-old, she would be one of the youngest justices on the bench. Members serve for life, or until they chose to retire.

Judge Jackson is expected to be confirmed, in part due to a rule change when Senator Mitch McConnell was the majority leader.  In 2017, the Senate did away with the filibuster of Supreme Court nominees, which means only 51 votes are needed to send Judge Jackson to the bench.

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