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Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. gave opening remarks March 21 as the Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off its Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, citing a series of cases involving child pornography or sexual abuse of a child in which he says Jackson was the judge and had sentencing discretion.
Watch his remarks in the player above.
“What concerns me, and I’ve been very candid about this, is that in every case, in each of these seven, Judge Jackson handed down a lenient sentence that was below what the federal guidelines recommended and below what prosecutors recommended and so I think there’s a lot to talk about there,” Hawley said.
WATCH: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings — Day 1
Hawley has several times pointed to these cases ahead of Jackson’s confirmation hearings. But several fact checks, including those from the Washington Post and the Associated Press, say these arguments leave out important context. Mandatory sentencing minimums for child pornography cases have long been a subject of debate in the judicial community, including the U.S. Sentencing Commission on which Jackson once served. In 2012, with Jackson as vice chair, the bipartisan commission recommended lowering certain sentencing minimums, something many judges support, but Congress did not implement the recommendations.
Hawley called Jackson “enormously thoughtful, enormously accomplished,” and said he looks forward to hearing her responses.
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.
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