GOP Sen. Josh Hawley attempted to make Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson look awful. But the Missouri Republican ended up denigrating himself in the process as it became clear that he was lying about her record.
Hawley accused the U.S. Supreme Court nominee of being “soft on crime” and regularly issuing sentences lighter than what prosecutors recommended for people convicted of child pornography.
The GOP senator’s repulsive line of attack did not go unnoticed by fact-checkers who quickly dismantled Hawley’s nonsense. The Associated Press said the senator’s claims “don’t stand up to scrutiny.” Fact-check reports from the Washington Post and CNN came to the same conclusion.
Jackson herself pushed back against Hawley’s misleading allegations on Tuesday, telling Senators “that nothing could be further from the truth,” and saying that she keeps the victims front and center and imposes “significant” sentences in these types of cases.
“As a mother and a judge who has had to deal with these cases, I was thinking that nothing could be further from the truth,” Jackson told Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, when he asked what she was thinking when Hawley repeated the widely–criticized and demonstrably false allegations from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) that Jackson has a “long record” of letting child pornography offenders “off the hook.”
“These are some of the most difficult cases that a judge has to deal with because we’re talking about pictures of sex abuse of children,” Jackson said. “We’re talking about graphic descriptions that judges have to read and consider when they decide how to sentence in these cases.”
Jackson, while not referring to Hawley directly, implied that his claim doesn’t give a full picture of what judges consider pursuant to the sentencing guidelines established by Congress.
“That statute doesn’t say ‘Look only at the guidelines and stop,’” Jackson said. “The statue doesn’t say ‘Impose the highest possible penalty for this sickening and egregious crime.’ The statute says [to] calculate the guidelines, but also look at various aspects of this offense and impose a sentence that is ‘sufficient but not greater than necessary to promote the purposes of punishment.’”
Jackson also said that in addition to incarceration, she imposes sentences that include 20 to 40 years of supervision, including strict constraints and computer use.
“I am imposing all of those constraints because I understand how significant, how damaging, how horrible this crime is,” Jackson said.
Watch Jackson’s remarks below:
Judge Jackson responds to accusations from GOP senator at her confirmation hearing.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 22, 2022
Watch all of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's response to allegations of being soft on child porn offenders by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO):
“These people are looking at 20, 30, 40 years of supervision … I understand how significant, how damaging, how horrible this crime is.” pic.twitter.com/qdJ3ZxiXzy
— The Recount (@therecount) March 22, 2022