On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he would not support President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, after coming into the process with “an open mind.”
“After studying the nominee’s record and watching her performance this week, I cannot and will not support Judge Jackson for a lifetime appointment to our highest Court,” McConnell said in a statement. “First, Judge Jackson refuses to reject the fringe position that Democrats should try to pack the Supreme Court. Justices Ginsburg and Breyer had no problem denouncing this unpopular view and defending their institution. I assumed this would be an easy softball for Judge Jackson. But it wasn’t.”
“The nominee suggested there are two legitimate sides to the issue,” he continued. “She testified that she has a view on the matter but would not share it. She inaccurately compared her non-answer to a different, narrower question that a prior nominee was asked. But Judge Jackson seemingly tipped her hand. She said she would be, ‘thrilled to be one of however many.’ The opposite of the Ginsburg and Breyer sentiment. The most radical pro-court-packing fringe groups badly wanted this nominee for this vacancy. Judge Jackson was the court-packers’ pick. And she testified like it.”
McConnell said his main problems were with Jackson’s positions on crime and illegal immigration.
“This is one area where Judge Jackson’s trial court records provide a wealth of information. And it is troubling,” McConnell said. “The Judge regularly gave certain terrible kinds of criminals light sentences that were beneath the sentencing guidelines and beneath the prosecutors’ requests. The Judge herself, this week, used the phrase ‘policy disagreement’ to describe this subject. The issue isn’t just the sentences. It’s also the Judge’s rhetoric in trial transcript and the creative ways she bent the law. In one instance, Judge Jackson used COVID as a pretext to essentially rewrite a criminal justice reform law from the bench and make it retroactive, which Congress had declined to do.”
“She did so to cut the sentence of a fentanyl trafficker while Americans died in huge numbers from overdoses,” he added. “Judge Jackson declined to walk Senators through the merits of her reasoning in specific cases. She just kept repeating that it was her discretion, and if Congress didn’t like it, it was our fault for giving her the discretion. That is hardly an explanation as to why she uses her discretion the way she does. It was not reassuring to hear Judge Jackson essentially say that if Senators want her to be tough on crime, we need to change the law, take away her discretion, and force her to do it. That response just seems to confirm that deeply-held personal policy views seep into her jurisprudence. And that is exactly what the record suggests.”