GOP Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) was brilliantly fact-checked by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during Wednesday’s hearing for her Supreme Court nomination after Thillis attempted to distort her record.
Addressing Jackson, The North Carolina Senator read out a ruling that he claimed suggested that Jackson was advocating for the release of all prisoners in COVID-19-infected facilities, regardless of the offense they committed.
“You said, ‘the obvious increased risk of harm that the COVID-19 pandemic poses to individuals who have been detained in the districts congressional facilities reasonably suggests that each and every — and I think that means everyone — every defendant who is currently in the D.C. Department of Corrections custody and who thus cannot take independent measures to control their own hygiene and distance themselves from others should be released,'” Tillis said.
He added: “I voted and supported the FIRST STEP Act. I … did the Justice Reinvestment Act, early release of nonviolent prisoners. But how can I not read this to say that perhaps they should be released irrespective of the crime for which they have been charged?”
However, his attempt to cast Jackson as having a soft spot for criminals quickly backfired.
“Senator, if you read two more sentences down, that is precisely what I focus on,” Jackson replied. “This is a case, United States v. Wiggins, where I was setting up high analysis as to why I would not be releasing Mr. Wiggins in this case. He was arguing essentially what I said in that statement. He was arguing that the circumstances of COVID-19, which at that point, was rampant in the prisons. We had not had a vaccine, there were very difficult circumstances for prisoners who could not be separated from each other in the context of our jail. And as I say at the beginning of that opinion, at that point, COVID was ravaging the jail. The question for courts under the statute that Congress has enacted for compassionate release was whether COVID-19, a pandemic in the jail, was an extraordinary and exceptional circumstance or extraordinary and compelling circumstances that should warrant release.”
Jackson added: “What I said in that statement that you read was, it would seem as though something like a deadly pandemic rampant in the jails would justify releasing everyone, but, I go on to say in that very opinion, Congress has indicated that we have to take each case individually. We have to look at the harm to the community that might be caused by the release of individual people. We cannot just release everybody, I said in that opinion.”
Watch the exchange below:
"Senator, if you read two more sentences down, that's precisely what I focus on" — Judge Jackson to Tillis pic.twitter.com/2cKbk04eVa
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 23, 2022