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Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, questioned Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson about her views on whether free speech protections apply equally to conservative and liberal protesters and whether the right to bear arms is fundamental on the second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings. Supreme Court nominee Jackson responded affirmatively to both questions.
Watch Grassley’s questions in the player above.
Grassley also asked Jackson about comments she made in 2020 regarding racial justice in America and specifically the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century. Jackson reflected on the significant social changes that have occurred since her parents were required to attend racially segregated schools in Florida, noting that she instead went to racially diverse schools in the state during her own childhood.
“The fact that we had come that far was to me a testament to the hope and the promise of this country, the greatness of America. That in one generation — one generation — we could go from racially segregated schools in Florida to have me sitting here as the first Floridian ever to be nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Jackson said.
WATCH LIVE: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings — Day 2
Grassley also questioned Jackson about the circumstances under which a judge should consider international law when interpreting the Constitution. Jackson said there are “very, very few cases” in which international law plays any role in judging, and “certainly not in interpreting the Constitution.” Upon further questioning, Jackson remained steadfast, saying there were no constitutional rights or clauses that could be “properly illuminated” by any international law.
While answering a question from Grassley regarding a nationwide injunction she issued that blocked the Department of Homeland Security from deporting undocumented immigrants who had been in the country for less than two years, Jackson laid out the judicial approach she took in her decision.
Jackson said that while DHS had the sole responsibility to decide whether to deport a person (and once they decided, that decision was final), the discretion given to the agency did not mean that it could make arbitrary decisions. “Procedural requirements may still apply,” Jackson said.
WATCH: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson pledges to decide cases ‘without fear or favor’ in hearing opening statement
Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden in February to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman on the high court. After opening statements from Jackson, her colleagues and the senators March 21, senators will spend two days questioning Jackson at length about her rulings and judicial philosophy. On the final day of the hearings March 24, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from friends and colleagues of Jackson about her temperament and approach to the law.
More on Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings from our coverage:
Isabella Isaacs-Thomas is a digital reporter on the PBS NewsHour's science desk.
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